The payoff of Washington’s hires of two Cal coaches continued today as receiver Jordan Payton of Oaks Christian High in Westlake Village, Calif., announced he will sign with UW tomorrow.
Like a few others, he had been committed to Cal — giving the word during the U.S. Army All-American Game, same as Thompson — but then reconsidered after some of the coaching changes.
Payton is a 6-1, 205-pounder who led Oaks Christian with 61 catches for 769 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.
He made his announcement during a show Tuesday on ESPNU.
Payton said that when Cal assistants Tosh Lupoi and Eric Kiesau came to UW he began rethinking his options.
“It’s tough when two guys you are extremely close with leave for another college,” he said on the ESPNU show. “After coach Lupoi and coach Kiesau left I sat down with my family and I reevaluted things and came to the decision today.”
Payton said on the show his final three were UW, UCLA and Cal — he had taken an official visit to UW two weekends ago and apparently accompanied Shaq Thompson on an unofficial one last weekend.
As he made his decision he explained that “what was crazy was I never really looked at Washington before and when they left to go up to Washington I took my last official up there and I fell in love with everything, so it was a tremendous experience to go up there and I’ve just decided to spend the next three to four years at the University of Washington.”
Asked what impressed him the most about UW and its program, he said: “A number of things did for sure. The first thing was the players and how they interacted with the coaches. That was extremely big for me to see that and the relationships they have with each other. And then the fan base, they are a great group of fans up there, they love Washington football. And the third one was the academics — I never knew how strong they were and when I got up there and they showed me the alumni and who has gone through there and how strong they are compared to all the other schools, I just fell in love with it.”
ESPN national recruiting analyst Craig Haubert said of Payton that: “He’s a big wide receiver, 6-2 around 200 pounds. So he’s got good size. He’s not necessarily a burner, a guy who is going to stretch the field for you. But what he does have is, for a big wide receiver, is excellent body control and good hands. You can throw the ball up and he can go up and outmuscle people to make the play. … he’s a good route runner, good body control, good hands and he can help you move the chains and be a nice target in the red zone. And when you are in the Pac-12, you think about USC, a team to beat, what do they have? They’ve got playmakers outside. So if you want to compete you’d better be able to make plays in the passing game as well, so it was a big gain for Washington to be able to add a big wide receiver to the mix.”
Payton is the 21st known commit for UW’s Class of 2012, and his addition as well as that of Shaq Thompson has the Huskies up to No. 28 nationally and sixth in the Pac-12 by Scout.com and 22nd nationally and fifth in the Pac-12 by Rivals.com.
Here’s some video of Payton:
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