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H.D. Woodson’s D’Andre Payne ruled eligible by DCPS, will play Friday

All-Met cornerback D’Andre Payne has been re-enrolled at H.D. Woodson and will be allowed to play for the football team just three weeks after he was ruled ineligible, a D.C. Public Schools spokesperson said Thursday.

Payne will play Friday night when the Warriors travel to take on Glen Mills (Pa.). Payne, who missed the first three games of the season, was pulled off the field on August 26 after questions were raised about his residency. He withdrew from the school about a week later and lost his eligibility on the football team after DCPS found his father and legal guardian, Walter Payne, lived in Landover.

A DCPS spokesperson said Thursday documentation for D’Andre Payne was provided earlier this week proving his residency in the District, and that he was ruled eligible to play football at the school.

Walter Payne also declined comment on Thursday.

“It feels really good to be back. It was a hard three weeks,” D’Andre Payne said. “I’m excited, the coaches are excited, the players are excited, and we’re ready to play some football.”

DB D'Andre Payne, a Tennessee recruit. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Payne, who is committed to Tennessee, scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams a year ago – including four punt returns for scores. He transferred from Woodson to Friendship Collegiate last winter, only to transfer back to Woodson later in the spring for his senior season. Payne said he is on track to graduate early from Woodson in December and join the Volunteers in January.

“Me being back in school, that’s the main thing I’m really happy about,” Payne said. “I’m able to get to Tennessee in January.”

The Warriors have gone 1-2 without Payne, who is expected to start at cornerback, wide receiver and kick returner against Glen Mills, and he was still working on his timing at all of those positions during Thursday’s practice. But Payne was the one of the undisputed leaders during the session, helping coach his teammates and leading a cheer at midfield after practice.

“I get to see that smile he always [has]. I haven’t seen that smile in a while,” Woodson Coach Steve Scott said. “I’m just happy the kid is happy.”

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.
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