Junior defensive back D'Andre Payne (Washington, D.C./Howard D. Woodson) made the trip south this weekend to see the Sunshine State Showdown between Florida and Florida State in Tallahassee.
Watching from the stands, he saw the game change over and over again, but pointed to a specific sequence of events that determined the outcome.
"I think it was a good game up until around the fourth quarter," he said. "Florida State had a lot of turnovers, and I think when EJ Manuel got hurt, and when he fumbled, I think that is when it turned everything around. But I think it was a good game."
Payne has been to some big ball games before. And he says that this Florida-Florida State game ranks right up there with the best of them, even if it wasn't the loudest place he had ever been.
"The crowd was hyped the whole game," said Payne. "They were going at it, both teams.
"I don't know. I went to the Penn State-Ohio State game and that one was pretty rowdy. I'd say the the Florida-Florida State game was better, but the Penn State game was louder because of the capacity."
Meeting the coaches was a priority for Payne while he was there. It was never going to be as much as either party would like, but it is a start.
A more patient approach can happen in a few months when Payne plans on coming back for a junior day.
"I got to talk to Coach [Odell] Haggins, Coach [Mark] Stoops, and I got to meet with Jimbo Fisher, too," he said. "They said that they wanted me real bad and they loved me. I think I will come back down there in January and talk to them. We didn't get to catch up too much because they were busy and had some official visitors. But when I come back down, I will sit down with them and talk."
Admittedly an admirer of Florida State prior to stepping on campus in Tallahassee, Payne said this weekend was beneficial. Getting to see everything firsthand was important and made an impression.
"Yeah, it opened my eyes," he said. "Before I came, I already liked Florida State. Seeing the atmosphere and meeting the coaches, it opened my eyes up a little bit more."
Though Payne has offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Virginia and Virginia Tech, he claims no leaders at this time.