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Payne Gives Gamecocks First '09 Commitment

The roller coaster recruiting ride for Columbia High ATH Chris Payne (5-11 191) has stopped again. This time he's getting off at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Payne made an official commitment to USC Thursday morning a little more than two weeks after committing to Clemson only to back off of that the next day.

"I had to go with my heard and Carolina is the place that I have always wanted to go," Payne said. "I want to play in front of my family and friends. I want to stay at home and win the Southeastern Conference for Steve Spurrier. When we went up to commit to Clemson, it was the facilities and everything else about Clemson. I should have never made that decision. I should have stuck with my heart. What stands out about Carolina is coach Spurrier, he knows what he's doing. And the safeties, they always have people going into the league. That's just the place I want to be."

Columbia High coach Kemper Amick believes Payne's commitment this time is firm.

"He's one of those kids who grew up in South Carolina and USC has been his favorite football team," Amick said. "He's been around there a lot."

Payne becomes the Gamecocks' first commitment for the 2009 class.

"They are getting an exceptional, dynamic football player," Amick said.

Payne also had offers from Clemson, Michigan State and North Carolina while Auburn and Alabama also expressed interest. Last season he rushed for 720 yards averaging over seven yards per carry, and he had 130 tackles with nine sacks.

He's projected as a safety with the Gamecocks.