The Huskers had a big first day of the early signing period. Their signing day haul created a surge of excitement in the fan base. Combine that surge with the run the team had already been on—as well as the strong base that started the cycle—and the Huskers produced another top-20 class.
One of the players that chose Nebraska on Wednesday was former North Carolina State defensive line commit Pheldarius Payne.
ALL IN. 757 ➡️ 402 #GBR pic.twitter.com/MbO4FunioQ
— First 48 (@Pheldarius) December 19, 2019
Hail Varsity spoke with Payne after his commitment to see why he picked Nebraska.
“It’s a family feel and everyone wants to get better,” he said. “I know the team is close to something big.”
The defender from Virginia faced a difficult decision after committing to North Carolina State last July. It’s a stressful process to go through but Payne had a strong support system that helped guide him.
“My parents and my close friends [helped me],” Payne said. “They wanted me to do what’s best for me and I would be better in the run.”
Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti also took a memorable photo with Payne and his family when he went to see the family during the contact period. It was a great moment at Payne’s house between his future position coach and family.
Thanks @CoachTuioti92 for stopping by and spending time with my family and I #GBR ☠️ pic.twitter.com/1jDxKAkCnT
— First 48 (@Pheldarius) December 10, 2019
“They were happy to see [Tuioti],” Payne said. “It was a good environment when he was here. It was like a big family feeling when he was around.”
Payne (6-3, 270) is big lineman that can both hold up against the run and rush the quarterback. He talked about how the Huskers want to use him in the defense next season and if the team wants him to add weight.
“They said they don’t have a specific weight they want to put on me,” he said. “They want me to play defensive end. They want one side to be lighter and one side heavier. Coach T likes my pass rush ability.”
During his official visit, Payne said he and his family ate a lot. He also really likes wings, which happens to be the best thing he ate while in Lincoln. He had them while he was at a popular bowling alley and arcade on the visit.
Payne will be back in Nebraska for good this May when he enrolls. He has three years to play two seasons, so he has a redshirt year to use if needed.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.