When wide receiver Tristan Payton made his commitment to Florida in late February, he was an unrated prospect on most websites and didn’t even have a profile on ESPN.
An ‘under-the-radar’ recruit, in other words.
“Florida saw something in me that other people haven’t yet,” Payton said at the time of his decision.
The secret is out.
Since his pledge to the Gators, Payton has earned offers from Maryland, Miami and Ohio State. He’s ranked the 132nd overall prospect and No. 15 receiver nationally by ESPN.
“I’m feeling good about things,” he said. “I’ve just been putting in work to make a name for myself.”
In recent months, Payton participated in the Orlando Nike Football Training Camp, the Rivals Camp Series and 7-on-7 tournaments. He has left his mark at each stop.
“Nobody really knew about me at any of those events,” he said, “but I talked to people every time and they respected me a lot for the way I performed.
“I went out there with the mindset that I’m the best. I went against a lot of good guys, and it was great competition. But I came with everything I had.”
The 6-foot, 182-pounder is currently going through spring practices at Jacksonville First Coast. Last spring was his first time playing receiver, and he feels much more comfortable at the position now.
“My fundamentals have improved so much,” Payton said. “I’m more physical and a better route runner, and my speed has picked up a lot.”
Payton plans to continue sharpening his game this summer at college camps.
“I’m going to be back at Florida,” he said. “That’s for sure.”