Alabama football recruiting: Five-star Damon Payne, the nation’s No. 1 DT, commits to the Crimson Tide


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Awaiting the Commitment of 5-Star DT Damon Payne

Five-star defensive lineman Damon Payne, the No. 14 overall player in the Class of 2021, verbally committed to Alabama on Sunday afternoon on CBS Sports HQ. The 6-foot-3, 297-pound monster from Belleville (Michigan) High School chose the Crimson Tide over Arizona State, Kentucky and USC.

Payne is the top-ranked defensive tackle in the nation and top-ranked player in the state of Michigan. He clocked a 4.59 shuttle run and a 28.9-inch vertical at a regional camp for The Opening in March 2019. He tallied 59 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks last season. 

Charles Power, national writer for 247Sports, compared Payne to former Alabama star and current Detroit Lions defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson. Power provided this scouting report on Payne.”

“Stoutly built defensive lineman with a well-proportioned build. Doesn’t carry much bad weight on his frame despite already being around 300 pounds. Has registered as a good athlete for the position with strong short area quickness and burst in combine settings prior to his junior season. Works as a two-way lineman at Belleville and has played both ways at camps early in his career before settling in as a defensive tackle prospect. Plays with a high-level combination of first-step quickness and strength at the point of attack. Shows the ability to create disruption as an interior pass rusher with the burst off the ball paired with a low pad level. Has active hands and already developed technically with effective push-pull and rip moves at this stage. Also shows the strength in his base to anchor and make plays as a run defender. Can continue progressing as from a production standpoint on the defensive side (plays both ways) and as a pursuit defender. Projects as a multi-year starter at the Power Five level with the upside to develop into an early round NFL Draft selection.”

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Payne is the fourth, five-star player to commit to the Crimson Tide since the beginning of May. Coach Nick Saban has the No. 2 class in the country and the top-ranked class in the 247Sports composite team recruiting rankings.


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