Florida secures top spot for elite WR Jeremiah Payton

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jeremiah Payton is one of the nation’s best players in the Class of 2019, but his recruiting process hasn’t gotten out of control just yet.

He holds 17 offers, but that number will surely increase over the course of his junior year. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound wide receiver is ranked the No. 4 at his position and 24th nationally by 247Sports.

Payton isn’t ready to name leaders or narrow his options, but at least one school has cemented itself as a legitimate contender.

“Right now, I really don’t have a top,” Payton said Saturday night. “Florida fits up there. They’re definitely up there, definitely up there.”

Florida is one of Payton’s biggest offers, and not just in terms of program prestige. His interest in the Gators goes beyond recruiting.

“The school I rooted for growing up was Florida,” Payton said. “I just always grew up loving Florida. The recruiting process came and I got an offer from Florida, so it’s just a dream come true.”

Payton attends Duncan U. Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Fla. He was the top uncommitted recruit in attendance for the Florida-Texas A&M game, marking his second trip to Gainesville and first this season.

“It was definitely a whole bunch of energy. Excited to come back. Just a different vibe from last year,” Payton said. “Seeing everything is just amazing. Getting here and getting comfortable with the guys, coaches, recruiting staff. Everything is just going well.”

Linebackers coach Tim Skipper serves as Payton’s area recruiter, and receivers coach Kerry Dixon II also communicates with him. Payton spoke to both coaches Saturday.

“They’re just telling me to stick with the program, enjoy the recruiting process and just see how it goes,” Payton said.

Ohio State has been talking to Payton “really, really heavy” and he recently visited Florida State and Miami. The Buckeyes and Seminoles, however, have yet to offer.

“I’m just seeing how much love these colleges have for me, and what they’re putting on the table and what they’re offering me,” Payton said.

He hasn’t set up any visits for the near future, but will return to Florida “as soon as possible.” Payton is looking forward to QB commit Matt Corral and believes the Gators will rebound from the A&M loss.“I just notice that all the players will bring that fire and they’re going to bounce back. I feel like they’ll do pretty well,” Payton said. “I really like that they’re bringing in that young quarterback in next year. I want to see what he does. And from there, I think I’ll make my decision.”