Selected to multiple preseason All-America teams including The Sporting News, Lindy's, Athlon's and the All-American Football Network ... Has again been named a team captain for 2015.
Sophomore (2014): Was selected as a preseason All-American (second team) by USA Football ... Was named to the preseason All-PFL team ... Was selected by his teammates as a captain ... Lived up to preseason accolades by becoming one of the most decorated players in college football ... In addition to being the PFL Defensive Player of the Year, was named to multiple All-America teams including: the Walter Camp Football Foundation (First Team), The Sports Network (First Team), the Associated Press (First Team), College Sports Madness (First Team) and the Beyond Sports Network (Second Team) ... Was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award which is presented annually to the FCS Defensive Player of the Year ... Was featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" on December 22 ... Was a Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and was named to the FCS Athletic Director's Association Academic All-Star team ... Was a first team All-PFL and Academic All-PFL player ... Led all of NCAA football (all levels) with 185 total tackles on the year ... Tied an all-division all-time NCAA record with 30 total tackles in the win over Campbell ... Also deflected the Camels' pass on the goal line at the end of the game to preserve the victory ... In addition to his 30-tackle game at Campbell, had single-game tackle performances of 26 (Jacksonville), 21 (Marist), 18 (Morehead State), 17 (Drake), 16 (Birmingham-Southern and Davidson) and 15 (Mercer) ... Was second on the team, and in the PFL, with 19 tackles for loss, including 5.5 sacks ... Was credited with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries ... Finished with four interceptions and a total of 12 passes defended ... Also had six QB hurries ... Opened the year by scoring the first points of the season for the Hatters, scooping up a blocked punt and returning it 25 yards for a touchdown ... Was named Hatters' defensive player of the week six times ... Was named PFL Defensive Player of the Week three times ... Was named the College Sports Madness PFL Defensive Player of the Week once ... Was selected by The Sports Network as co-Defensive Player of the Week in FCS for his efforts against Birmingham-Southern.
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 (15) ... 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 ... Is a Finance major.
“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.”