Freshman (2013): Was one of four team captains for the Hatters ... Played in all 11 games, starting 10 ... Was named the 2013 Pioneer Football League Defensive Freshman of the Year and was a first team All-Conference selection ... Was selected as a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award which goes to the national Freshman of the Year ... Was named to the College Sports Journal Freshman All-America team ... Finished the season with a team-best 113 total tackles, including 71 solo stops ... Tied for the PFL lead in total tackles and led the league in solo tackles ... Ranked second in the PFL with 16 tackles for losses of 86 yards ... Tied for 16th in the PFL with 4.5 sacks ... Recorded two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries ... Had two interceptions and was credited with 12 pass breakups, which was good for third in the PFL ... Was named to the PFL Academic Honor Roll ... Was named PFL Defensive Player of the Week after each of the Hatters first three games ... Was named The Sports Network's National Freshman of the Week following his performance in the season-opener against Warner ... Recorded double-figure tackle totals in seven games, including four of the last five ... Had a season-high 15 tackles against Campbell (11/2) ... Had a fumble recovery for a touchdown against Warner (8/31) and an interception return for a score against Birmingham-Southern (9/21) ... Was credited with three QB hurries.
High School: Played safety and running back during four seasons at Landmark Christian ... Was also a three-year letter winner in baseball ... Helped both teams to state runner-up finishes during his career ... Was a three time first team All-Region defensive back and was twice named All-County ... Was a first team All-State selection as a senior and also earned a spot on the Metro Atlanta All-Star team ... As a senior he recorded 107 tackles with six interceptions, 16 pass breakups and two blocked punts ... Also ran for 350 yards and five touchdowns ... Was an honor roll student and recipient of the U.S. Army National Scholar Athlete Award.
Personal: Was born on July 12, 1994, in Fayetteville, Ga. ... Is the son of Sylvia and Donald Payne, Sr. ... Has one brother, David (14) ... His father was an All-American defensive back at Morris Brown College in the 1970s and is in the Morris Brown Hall of Fame ... His uncle, Ezra Johnson, also was an All-American defensive end at Morris Brown and went on the play in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Oilers over a 15-year career ... Johnson was a first round draft pick in 1977 and was a Pro Bowl selection in 1978 ... Plans to major in business management.
“Stetson felt like home to me! I wanted to get a great education but also play football, so Stetson was the perfect fit for me.”