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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Favorites beginning to emerge for Payne

By Josh Moyer

Cornerback D'Andre Payne just picked out a new high school -- Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate -- and he's also picked out some favorite colleges.

The ESPN Watch List prospect transferred from Howard D. Woodson just last week and was a little groggy while he adjusted to the longer school day. But his recruitment's just beginning to come into focus.

Seven schools are currently standing out, and Payne said he might even have an early favorite.

D'Andre Payne
Penn State finds itself behind for D'Andre Payne, but the CB hasn't elminated the Nittany Lions yet.
"I really like Florida State," he said. "It's just the whole atmosphere. It's just all good people. I went to the Florida game, and people would just start talking to me and we'd be having good conversations. Plus, it's a good coaching staff with Jimbo Fisher."

Payne's other favorites at this point include Auburn, Clemson, Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan and Tennessee. He holds scholarship offers from every school except the Volunteers, but he's receiving heavy interest from the university.

"I have family right in Knoxville," he said, "so I think I could be comfortable there."

One college that's currently on the outside looking in is Penn State, a place where he boasts several ties. His former teammate, three-star CB Jordan Smith, enrolled there in January. And Payne also trains with the father of current senior Stephon Morris.

He's twice visited Happy Valley -- over the summer and for the PSU-OSU game -- and said he hasn't yet eliminated the Nittany Lions from contention.

"I mean, those [sanctions] do hurt a little bit, but I still like them," he said. "I enjoyed myself, and I want to visit again. I'm really close to Stephon Morris, and I'm good friends with Jordan."

But, right now,  Penn State isn't among his favorites and he has no immediate plans to return. He's already marked his calendar with Maryland's junior day later this month, however, and he's placed high priority on visiting Clemson and Tennessee.

"Those are the two I'd really like to get down to," he added.

The 5-foot-9, 164-pound defensive back also said he'll likely hold off on a commitment. Initially, he wanted to decide before his senior season so he could focus on football. But, now, he said he just wants to commit when it feels right -- and that could come as late as signing day.

"I just really don't know," he said. "It's all about building relationships. I want a coach who can guide me on and off the field, with stuff that doesn't even have to do with football.

"Whoever I have the best relationship with -- wherever I feel most comfortable -- that's where I'm going to be."