James Franklin and Penn State currently hold one of the top two recruiting classes for 2022 and are getting off to a good start for next season.
During halftime of tonight’s big game against No. 20 Auburn, Penn State received a commitment from 2023 4-star cornerback Lamont Payne from Chartiers Valley High School in Pittsburgh. Payne made the pledge to Penn State in State College, as he was in attendance for tonight’s game.
— Lamont Payne🏴☠️🦋 (@Lamontpayne18) September 19, 2021
Payne is a lengthy cornerback (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) and has a similar skillset to current Nittany Lions cornerback Joey Porter Jr., who they also plucked from Western Pennsylvania. Payne has been a heavy Penn State lean since receiving the offer, but also held offers from Pitt, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Syracuse.
Payne spoke to Nittany Sports Now about his decision and a big part of his decision was the bond he was able to establish with his chief recruiter, Terry Smith, and the rest of the Penn State coaching staff.
“The biggest thing was the Penn State coaching staff,” Payne told NSN. “And the other thing was the Penn State community. From the beginning, I’ve seen how he entire Penn State community has shown me love, not only in football but in regular day staff. When I was previously up there, the people wanted to meet you and they are so friendly. It just seems like a great place and a great community to be a part of.”
“Prior to today, I told Coach Terry and the entire coaching staff was just so excited to hear the news. I’m obviously very excited also and both of us are now just ready to go.”
Unlike a majority of recruits that are making their commitments this time of the year, Payne is only a junior. He admits that also played a role and now he can put the pressures of recruiting behind him and enjoy his remaining time in high school.
“That definitely played a part,” said Payne. “I didn’t want to stress myself out too much. In the end, I’m still just a 16 year old kid and I want to enjoy my time in high school and now can enjoy my remaining time in high school before I have to start getting to work at Penn State.”
Payne becomes Penn State’s second commitment in their Class of 2023, the other being 4-star offensive lineman Alex Birchmeier, from Ashburn, Virginia.