Belleville, Michigan defensive tackle Damon Payne released his Top 10 on Tuesday and the Buckeyes were one of three Big Ten teams to make the cut. Joining Ohio State on the list of 10 were Penn State, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky, USC, Oregon, LSU, and Michigan.
These are my top 10. Please Respect My Decision… pic.twitter.com/wP0oprHLvt
— Dame (@DamonPayne2021) February 4, 2020
Payne (6-4 297) is the No. 5 defensive tackle in the 2021 class per the 247Sports Composite. He is the No. 31 player overall and the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan. He is currently a 4-star prospect, but if he remains near the Top 30, he would be in line for a fifth star. Payne is the No. 25 player and the No. 4 defensive tackle in 247Sports’ own rankings.
Payne has already visited Ohio State a number of times, including last April and last October for the Wisconsin game.
Even though he has measured in at 6-3.5 and 297 pounds at a regional combine, he carries his weight well and is quick for his size. He plays both defensive end and defensive tackle for his Belleville High team, and also sees time on the offensive line where he is a talented puller.
Even though he projects as an interior defender, he looks like a quality pass rusher because of his burst and strength.
Here is the scouting report from 247Sports.
Big-framed kid, and has filled out a lot. Looks like a college-ready player despite how young he is. Naturally gifted athlete who moves around better than the vast majority of kids his size. Strong, powerful kid who can drive blockers back into the backfield. Is improving his technique. Has a good push-pull move and a solid rip, but is still adding more hand technique and other moves to his arsenal. He is also a very good offensive lineman and some schools may look at him on that side of the ball. Big enough to play nose, athletic enough to play a three-tech or maybe even an end in some schemes, he has a chance to be an early contributor at the high-major level if he keeps progressing at this rate.
Payne would be a welcome addition to an Ohio State class that just landed their first defensive tackle last week in Ohioan Michael Hall. Hall is the No. 19 defensive tackle in the nation. The Buckeyes also have a commitment from 5-star defensive end Jack Sawyer, who is currently ranked the No. 2 player in the entire 2021 class.
Michigan high schools haven’t been overly helpful to Ohio State’s recruiting of late. While the Buckeyes are slated to sign two Michigan prospects in the 2020 cycle, they went the previous three years without signing anybody from the state of Michigan.