football

Payne names top four

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Vienna (Va.) Oakton running back Keith Payne continues to hold a lone offer from Virginia Tech. What other teams have mentioned an offer to the 6-foot-2, 213-pounder?
"Clemson, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware have all mentioned it," he said. "They are all waiting for my test scores which should come out in the next couple of weeks. I particularly like Virginia, Maryland and Clemson from the group showing interest.
"Virginia is a good school and I know a lot of the players and the coaching staff pretty well. I'm familiar with their offense and I know they use their running backs a lot. I'm not as familiar with Clemson and Maryland, but I think they have a lot to offer."
Other schools in the mix for the No. 26 player in Virginia include Penn State, Boston College, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC.
"They all send a lot of letters, but I haven't talked to anyone from most of those schools much. I'm not totally sure where they stand."
Of course the prospect still holds the offer from the Hokies, what does he think about them?
"They stand out a lot since they offered," he said. "I like the way the coaches are there, they are down-to-earth and it seems like the players get along with the coaches really well. They have a good program and would give me a good chance to play."
Payne is pretty wide open as to his favorites right now.
Despite that, the prospect has begun to think about official visits.
"I've been thinking about going to Virginia, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Clemson for four of my visits," he said. "I think I'll probably take a couple during the season and a couple after. I want to see how it is for the players during the season and get a feel from them. I'm still not sure which school will get my fifth visit, but I'll see who is closest to offering."
Any idea when he'll decide?
"Once I get four offers or so, I'll be ready to choose," he said. "Hopefully they'll come before the end of the season. I'm definitely looking to decide early probably around December or January."
The running back has just started practice on August 10th.
"I'm looking for a state ring this year. I'm looking for our team to come together and be the best we can be. It's a tough district we're in since we've added two more teams and I'm hoping my individual talent will help the team out," he said. "I really want to get at least 2,000 yards rushing and be a leader on the team and push all the younger guys. This season I'm working on my speed and strength. I also want to work on my maturity in game situations more. I can already tell that I'm a lot faster this year and my agility and stamina are better."
Payne accounted for 1,240 yards of offense and 19 touchdowns a year ago as he was named honorable mention all-metro, first team all-district and first team all-region.
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