2019 Duncan U. Fletcher WR Jeremiah Payton has officially signed with the Miami Hurricanes. He is the 10th signee today for UM.
The 6-1, 185-pounder is a consensus 4-star according to the 247Composite. Payton is ranked 69th overall in the nation, the #11 WR in the country, and the #9 player in The Sunshine State.
The Canes identified Payton as a top target early on, offering him all the way back in his sophomore year of high school. From the beginning, the Canes were considered a top contender, along with UF, FSU, UGA, and Alabama. However, Payton decided to end his recruitment early, committing to Miami on an unofficial visit to UM very early in the process all the way back in February. Many kids continue to take visits throughout the cycle, but the 4-star talent never wavered whatsoever and took no other visits after his commitment to UM despite having major interest from top Power 5 programs.
Payton brings good size and a very versatile skill set to Coral Gables, and is another elite player at a position Miami is already loaded at. Payton can play both outside and in the slot for Ron Dugans’ crew.
Payton has great body control in mid-air to be able contort for difficult catches. He has the prototypical frame of a #1 receiver with great hands; he doesn’t drop much. He’s not a burner, but has enough straight-line speed to blow the top off a defense, while still being a crafty route runner and physical enough to work a defense underneath.
Watching him at the Opening Finals, I was taken aback at how dominant Payton was. I already believed he was a good player, but the ease at which he was getting open against the nation’s top competition was shocking. Payton ate on slant, drag, and out routes all day and was a terror underneath. It was a shame he had to go out early with an ankle injury or he would’ve been in contention for MVP honors.
Despite all the raw talent in Miami’s receiver room, the Canes actually struggled at the position in 2018. Injuries and departures occurred, and the drops were numerous. The Canes may be without what were considered their top 3 receivers going into 2018, that in theory were originally expected to be back in 2019. Ahmmon Richards has medically retired due to a neck injury, Jeff Thomas has been dismissed from the program, and Lawrence Cager is thinking about grad transferring for his final year of eligibility. There is sure to be plenty of playing time available here for any of the hungry young receivers to step up and take it, and Payton could stand to benefit.
Redshirt Probability: 2/10
We’ve seen how much Dugans likes to rotate his receivers and he keeps a deep stable to make sure everyone stays fresh. With these ideas in mind, Payton could very likely get on the field early with his talent and play a support role as a true freshman in 2019, setting himself up to compete for a starting job as a sophomore in 2020.