There’s no denying the impact that Patrick Payton makes on a football team.
Whether it’s to line up as an edge rusher or defensive end, the 6-foot-5, 210 pound senior is up for the task. And in limited time, he’s formed into a household name in the South Florida area.
In five games for Miami Northwestern this season, Payton has recorded at least 4.5 sacks and two touchdowns (fumble, pick-six), along with a plethora of pass deflections. Even when he doesn’t do it himself, the need to keep him maintained has helped his fellow teammates cause havoc against opposing teams.
To say the least, his move to Miami Northwestern has been a success.
“My senior year has been great,” Payton told 305 Sports. “It’s been good to get back to my home school with coach Max [Edwards].”
Payton transferred to the Bulls program for his final year of high school. He was previously at Miami High, where he notched a whopping 17.5 sacks as a junior.
Despite the notable performances and freakish potential, Payton has realistically been under the radar of many Power Five programs, including the hometown Miami Hurricanes.
“I feel like I’ve been underrated for the past two years,” he said. “Some schools are missing out on me, but I’m just gonna continue working hard, staying humble and trusting in God.”
Payton, who’s rated a four-star by 247Sports, committed to Nebraska back in May despite never visiting the Lincoln facilities. Although there has been no indication of him flipping his commitment, that doesn’t mean Manny Diaz’s program, amongst others, can’t make a pitch at him.
Payton noted that winning “means a lot” to him, adding that his “whole community looks up to the [Bulls’] football team.” And with winning on his mind and the Cornhuskers holding a 1-3 record, that could pay dividends on him ultimately choosing another route.
My thoughts on Patrick Payton:
I had the opportunity to watch Payton take on Miami Central and Plantation American Heritage. In those two games, he was a difference-maker.
He kicked things off versus the Rockets with a fumble recovery touchdown on his first defensive possession. He continued dominating on the field with at least 2.5 sacks and a pass deflection. Then versus the Patriots, he had another pass deflection and added constant pressure on quarterback Bake Murphy, who had just one completion for seven yards against the Bulls.
Of all defensive prospects not named James Williams or Dallas Turner, there has been nobody else that has caught my eyes like Payton. Whatever school he ends up at will be getting an absolute playmaker.
It’s a shame his run at a Class 5A state title came to an early end.