While D’Andre Payne is still adjusting to his new life at Friendship Collegiate Academy after transferring to the charter from H.D. Woodson this winter, one aspect of life that has remained steady for the junior is dealing with attention from college football recruiters.
Payne said Monday that he picked up four more scholarship offers last week, adding Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Rutgers to a list of offers that have materialized in the wake of a standout junior season at cornerback and kick returner at H.D. Woodson. Currently, Payne has over 30 scholarship offers, and the list is wide and varied. It includes Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech, as well as Florida State, Nebraska and Georgia Tech.
“It picked up a whole lot before the season started last year,” Payne said. “It’s just maintaining at a normal, constant pace.”
He earned first team All-Met honors after proving to be one of the city’s elite defensive players in 2012. Payne recorded four interceptions and scored touchdowns in all three phases of the game last fall, including four punt returns for touchdowns.
At Friendship Collegiate, he joins a junior class loaded with talent – including fellow first-team All- Met corner Jalen Tabor, and running back Jonathan Haden. Payne said he has had to “adjust a little bit” to the schedule at Friendship, which is structured different from Woodson’s, he said. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Payne has been in full swing with workouts at the school, attempting to add size (“I am trying to get bigger. I’m trying to get up to 180,” he said), while polishing his technique and speed at corner.
That will be his natural position in college he said, and even though he didn’t acknowledge a front-runner at this point, Payne said each of the four new offers intrigue him for different reasons. He cited the tradition at Wisconsin, the fact that Tennessee and Vanderbilt are in the Southeastern Conference and that Rutgers played Virginia Tech this past winter in the Russell Athletic Bowl all as details that have caught his attention.
“He’s already a polished corner, you know, who is definitely a playmaker in all facets of the game,” Friendship Collegiate coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim said. “He can definitely change the momentum of a game in a lot of different fashions.”