This one is a no for Kentucky. Five-star All-American defensive lineman Damon Payne has decided to roll with the tide for his collegiate career, picking Alabama over his other ten finalists, which included Kentucky, University of Southern California and Arizona State at the top of his list. Payne becomes Alabama’s fourth 5-star commit and eighth top-100 prospect. He’s the No. 1 defensive tackle in America for the 2021 class, according to the 247 Sports Composite Rankings,
Payne, a Michigan native, made the announcement on CBS Sports HQ Sunday afternoon, saying he believes Alabama is the place he can see himself excelling the most in both athletics and academics.
After Damon Payne committed to Alabama. pic.twitter.com/INuhXe9Jjf
— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) July 26, 2020
Kentucky recruiting has been picking up steam lately in Michigan, led by defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale. In two of the last three years, Coach Clink has successfully convinced Michigan’s top-ranked defensive linemen to join the Big Blue Nation, as both Justin Rogers and Marquan McCall eventually signed on the dotted line. Another Michigan standout, Rayshaun Benny, trimmed his list of potential landing spots to eight on Saturday, and he included Kentucky on that list (alongside Michigan, Michigan State, LSU, Penn State, Arizona State, Arkansas and Tennessee).
As for Payne, things were certainly different this time around, and a lack of official visits to Lexington amid COVID-19 restrictions likely hurt the Cats down the stretch.
On to the next.