Fred Payton, a Coastal Carolina University sophomore, was recruited in August 2019. A Parkview High School graduate from Suwannee, Georgia, Payton was deemed a 3-star recruit by 247Sports.com as a high school senior.
At Parkview, he was named first-team 7-AAAAAAA All-Region at quarterback and the Gwinnett County Touchdown Club Quarterback of the Year. He was also dubbed the 49th-best dual-threat quarterback in the nation by 247Sports.com.
Payton moved to Georgia from New Orleans when he was 7, where his new friends introduced him to the love of the game. His football career started at that young age, and he quickly became well established as a quarterback.
Payton credits his high school coaches for forming him into such a successful athlete. During his senior year, Payton was coached by former CCU All-American center Nick Johnson.
“I faced a lot of adversity in high school... I had a few coaches that stuck by my side and that really helped especially young age. You get hit with a lot of adversity, there’s a lot of things going through your mind, you don’t know how to handle it,” said Payton. “The best way to learn is from those who have been through it... so they definitely were a big help to me.”
Payton’s parents were consistently supportive of his football career, his father having played football in high school.
“My parents were always the type, you know, they want you to do what makes you happy, but once I chose football... my dad played the sport, and my mom, she played basketball, but she always supported me as well so they’re very encouraging... my dad knew, whatever sport it was... I’d give my all at it,” he said.
Payton says he chose Coastal because it “checked off all of my boxes.” He also saw the future potential of CCU’s athletic programs.
“I saw Coastal heading in that direction [of further expansion] and that’s something I wanted to be a part of,” said Payton.
Payton loves to interact with athletes from CCU’s other teams during the off-season, which he missed during his freshman year.
“I was not as involved (in other sports) last year as I am this year. Walking around campus, you see sports [teams] integrating and communicating with each other. Last year, you wouldn’t have seen that. You’ll see the football players talking to the basketball players, men and women, the softball players and the soccer players,” he said.
Payton was humble about the honor of being CCU’s newest addition to the team.
“Competing for a college starting job, its milestone in everybody's mind, you know, everybody wants to be a starter,” he said.
In addition to his work on the field, Payton dedicates time to his studies as a Business Management major.
The quarterback is considered a leader both on and off the field, and Payton corroborates with this claim.
“I would definitely describe myself as a leader . . . I’m more the type where I’m not as vocal, I’m more of a lead-by-example type of guy,” Payton said.
After a so-so game at Norfolk, Payton picked up his performance at Massachusetts, with an 88.9% passing percentage. On Payton’s performance at UMass, Coach Jamey Chadwell was impressed.
“I thought he played well, maybe had a couple incompletions . . . but other than that, he looked like he was in control . . . made some nice throws,” said Chadwell. “He did a nice job there . . . he continues to do that. I thought he improved tremendously last week, a good week.”
Chadwell was happy with the performance of both quarterbacks, Payton especially.
“He’s got all the ability in the world, he runs well, he’s got a nice arm, a good mind for the game. He’s just got to be consistent, throughout,” Chadwell said.
After Appalachian State’s recent win against the University of North Carolina, all attention was on the upcoming game. Payton shared his excitement.
“I’m really confident this week, just coming off those three big wins. Each game is the most important game because it’s your next one,” said Payton, a sentiment which was echoed by Coach Chadwell.
On Saturday, App State beat the Chanticleers 56 to 37 in a game that lasted a whopping five and a half hours.