8 Reasons 5-Star DT Daron Payne Will Sign with Auburn
Daron Payne is a 5-star defensive tackle who plays at Shades Valley High School in Alabama. While the program in Tuscaloosa is in the mix for him, Auburn is also a key school to watch, according to 247Sports.
The Tigers are fresh off of a magical season, and they're as confident as ever on the recruiting trail. Landing the powerful 6'2", 316-pound Payne would be huge news on The Plains.
There's eight key reasons why it just might be meant to be.
Auburn boasts many of the most passionate and intense fans in college football.
Jordan-Hare Stadium is always packed to the max during home games, and the fans arrive early and stay late. If Payne wants to make sure the team he's on in college will always have tremendous support, he can't go wrong by picking Auburn.
Although he's already 6'2" and 316 pounds, Payne could get even bigger in college. He'll need to make sure the program he selects has great facilities, including an impressive weight room.
Well, he mentioned he was impressed by what Auburn has to offer in this department to Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com (subscription required) in June 2013. That should bode well for the Tigers.
Chance to Be Part of a Great Defensive Line Unit
Adams and Lawson were 5-star talents coming out, while the rest of those above-mentioned players were 4-star recruits in high school. That's seven excellent young defensive linemen who'll help Auburn play strong defense in the trenches.
The chance to join them and be part of a potentially dominant defensive line unit has to be enticing to Payne.
Bright Lights of the SEC
As far as conferences go in college football, it doesn't get any bigger than the SEC. Payne could go anywhere and play college football, but Auburn offers him a chance to play at one of the better programs in the nation's top conference.
The Tigers find themselves playing in big games almost every week, and they're frequently on national television.
Relationship with Rodney Garner and Gus Malzahn
While Rodney Garner coordinates Auburn's recruiting efforts, he's also a key person in Payne's recruitment because he is the Tigers' defensive line coach.
It's imperative for Auburn's chances that Garner develop a close relationship with Payne, as he's the main coach the 5-star recruit will be around on during his tenure on The Plains.
It seems their relationship is terrific, as Payne stated his affection for Garner, and head coach Gus Malzahn, to Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com on Feb. 22.
Grandfather Rooted for Auburn
Growing up in Alabama, Payne's family rooted for the Crimson Tide. However, his grandfather is an Auburn fan, and his love for the Tigers inspired Payne to take up his same rooting interest, per a March 17 report by Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com.
With an influential person in Payne's life being a fan of the Tigers, and with Payne admitting he was an Auburn fan himself as a kid, it could be too tough turn down an opportunity to join his childhood favorite.
Proximity to Home
Payne is from the Birmingham-Irondale area in Alabama, which is about a two-hour drive from Auburn. Signing with the Tigers would keep him close to home, and his family would get to see him play in person.
Payne wouldn't be far from where he grew up, and he would be able to remain in a familiar environment and culture while adjusting to college life.
It's His Dream School
Payne hasn't been shy when it comes to professing his love for Auburn, calling it his "dream school" in February, according to Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com.
Recruits will talk highly about many of their favorites during the recruiting process, but they don't loosely use the term "dream school." Recruits also choose their dream school often when it comes time for them to make a decision.
Hokanson wrote on Feb 22, "Who is Payne's dream school? 'Auburn,' he said."
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.