Raymore-Peculiar senior Anthony Payne has never been one to track the online rankings. But his father has always been happy to do it for him, providing regular updates on where he stacks up on recruiting websites.
Earlier this week, his father shared some compelling news — the website 247Sports had moved Payne into the No. 1 ranking for Missouri high school senior football recruits.
Payne is headed across the state line to embark on his college career. He signed with Kansas State on Wednesday.
“When you’re ranked that high, you’re expected to deliver,” Payne said. “There’s some pressure, but it’s good pressure. I’m not worried about how I’ll handle it.”
Payne is a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive lineman with versatility. He spent his senior season rotating between defensive end, nose tackle and defensive tackle — alluring double- and even triple-teams on the majority of his snaps. Nevertheless, he finished with 80 tackles and eight sacks and was named to The Star’s All-Metro first team.
He had more than a dozen scholarship offers before settling on Kansas State.
“My parents and my family are my biggest fans, and they’ve played such a big role in my life that I wanted to play in front of them every Saturday,” Payne said. “That’s what meant the most to me.”