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Payne Gets Offer From USM
January 4, 2013St. Lukes Episcopal School
St. Luke's RB George Payne gets offer from Southern Miss ... and didn't know it
MOBILE, Alabama -- St. Luke's George Payne received the school's first Division 1 scholarship offer Thursday night and didn't even know it.
Coach John Beverly said his star running back was a the mall with some friends when new Southern Miss coach Todd Monken called him on his cell phone.
"George told me he talked to a coach last night, but he really didn't know who it was," Beverly said. "He was at the mall and just wasn't hearing him well. I got a text from one of the Southern Miss assistants today saying that they had offered him a scholarship. He didn't even know it.
"But he was ecstatic about the offer when he realized what happened. Southern Miss always has been a school on George's radar. We just didn't know with the coaching changes what might happen there. I would say they are definitely in his top three of schools he would like to attend."
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Payne has not committed yet, but Beverly said he would likely visit the Hattiesburg, Miss., campus on Jan. 18 or 25. Payne also currently has offers from Samford and the Citadel.
Beverly said Payne also received a phone call from an Auburn coach this week. UAB and Southern Illinois have expressed interest as well.
Payne led St. Luke's to its best season ever this year. The Wildcats finished 9-3, losing in the second round of the Class 1A playoffs.
Payne ran for 2,424 yards and 34 touchdowns on 166 carries.
"It (the recruiting) was pretty slow it seemed during the season," Beverly said. "He really didn't have much going at all. But I think Samford came in the week after we finished, and it has really picked up since then.
"This is our first senior class so this has been a great experience for our community and especially for George."
The Wildcats fielded their first team in 2010.
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Ben Thomas covers Mobile high school sports for The Alabama Media Group and The Mobile Press-Register. Write to him at email@example.com.