football Edit

Payton looking for 'comfortable' after opening up recruitment

Nashville native Javonta Payton signed with Ole Miss coming out of high school. He's remained committed to the Rebels until yesterday when he decided to open things up following a weekend on Rocky Top.

"Honestly I have been talking to my family about this for a long time," Payton said. "It's best option to be able to go out and look at other schools and figure out what schools I would like. Basically, it's something we have been thinking about for a long time and wanted to do it before it was too late."

Payton was once committed to Tennessee before eventually signing with Ole Miss. Tennessee is pushing for him hard and he sees great opportunity in Knoxville.

"For Tennessee to be interested in me again feels good," Payton said. "It just tells me I'm doing something right. I just have to keep fighting and keep balling and everything works out for the best."

Payton ran a 4.34 while working out this summer. He's routinely posting times in the 4.4 range and offers both size and speed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds.

Payton sees plenty of positives to the Tennessee staff.
Payton sees plenty of positives to the Tennessee staff. (Russell Johnson)

Payton really likes the new Tennessee staff led by Jeremy Pruitt. He's been able to get to know the top Vol a little bit and likes what he hears.

"Honestly I just met Pruitt back in the summer and he's a cool guy," Payton said. "He's just real and I like that. I have a few former teammates that play with UT right now and I just feel like it's a bond when I go up there."

Payton played 7 on 7 or high school ball with both Theo Jackson and Kyle Phillips. Everything is comfortable in Knoxville. And you could possibly double that feeling with new wide receivers coach David Johnson. The two have known each other for a few years so the bond only continues to grow.

"He's a character," Payton said. "He's super funny. I met him when I camped at Memphis about two years ago. He keeps it real with me. He's now at UT. He gets the job done and obviously the proof is there with Anthony Miller."

Payton plans on visiting Mississippi State this weekend. He also plans on visiting North Carolina, Florida and an official to Tennessee before signing in December. When it boils down to making a decision, he is hoping to find the place that is home.

"It's about where I feel comfortable," Payton said. "It's about where I think I can produce for my team and where I feel comfortable with the coaches and the area. Basically, a place that feels like home. When I'm not in Tennessee, I get homesick, so I'm looking for a place I feel comfortable because I think that's my body telling me this is the spot."

So the question becomes, does he feel comfortable at Tennessee?

"I've been up there so much, it just fits for me," Payton said.