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Meet The 2023 Class: DB Lamont Payne

Penn State dipped into the WPIAL for another defensive back.

Welcome back to what is now our fourth annual: Meet The Class series! For those that are new here, Marty Leap, Clay Sauertieg, and myself sit down at the end of every recruiting cycle and give in-depth thoughts on each player in the recruiting class. We go over strengths, concerns, redshirt status, where we have them ranked in the class, and a general view of what type of player we project them to be. As far as the “types” we have, these are the categories we are going with:

Depth Provider: Never a starter, but someone who is in the rotation or a special teams contributor. Examples: DT Tyrell Chavis, CB Jordan Smith, and WR Dan Chisena

Rotational/One-year Starter: Someone who will receive spot starts here and there, and by their final season, might be a full-fledged starter. Examples: OT Bryce Effner, CB Christian Campbell, and WR Saeed Blacknall

Multi-year Starter: Someone who is a full-time starter (aka starts all games played in or *very* close to it) for at least two seasons. Examples: DE Shareef Miller, WR Derek Moye, and CB Grant Haley

All-conference: First-team or second-team only! No offense to the third-team, but this group should be a step above multi-year starters. Examples: DE Yetur-Gross Matos, LB Gerald Hodges, and TE Pat Freiemuth

All-american: Once again, in an effort to dictate a clear divide between all-conference and all-america, we are talking bonafide stud territory. Penn State has “The Wall” for first-team AP All-Americans, and while we won’t be that stingy, that’s basically what we are talking about here. Examples: RB Saquon Barkley, WR Allen Robinson, and LB Micah Parsons

With all that being said, let’s go meet the class.

Coming in at No. 22 was three-star defensive back Lamont Payne.

What makes you excited about Lamont Payne?

“Payne has the size and length that you are looking for from a safety. He’s coming into Penn State in the 6-foot-1 area, and isn’t a total string bean at 185 pounds. He’ll need to add a bit more mass as he moves from a high school corner to college safety, but I think his game should transition nicely to his new position. While he lacks top-tier athleticism – which certainly played a part in the move – he’s a smart, heady player that isn’t afraid to be physical. Plus, not for nothing, but given everything we’ve heard about his leadership qualities and team-first mindset, I wouldn’t be surprised if Payne is a future #0.” --Patrick

What worries you about Lamont Payne?

“I’m not sure I see the athleticism necessary to be a high-level Power 5 player when I watch Payne’s tape. He doesn’t really run away from anyone and he’s not overly sudden when it comes to change of direction. As Patrick said, he’s a smart player and apparently a very good locker room guy, but that can only carry you so far.” --Clay

Do you think Lamont Payne will be redshirted next season? Around what point of his career do you think he pushes for meaningful playing time?

“Payne is a slam dunk redshirt guy. He will need time in the strength and conditioning program to improve his skills, as well as time working with Anthony Poindexter to refine his skills as a safety. If things go well for Payne, he could be pushing for playing time by year three.” --Marty

What do you think is the most realistic outcome for Lamont Payne: depth provider, rotational/one-year starter, multi-year starter, all-conference, or all-american?

Clay: Depth provider
Marty: Depth provider
Patrick: Depth provider

Lastly, where do you have Lamont Payne ranked in Penn State’s class?

Clay: No. 22
Marty: No. 22
Patrick: No. 21