I recently got a chance to sit down with Shenandoah defensive end Jake Payne. The talented rising senior has made his mark as a Hornet. Payne is coming off a junior season which saw him be named a co-captain with first team All-ODAC honors. He played in 10 games with 29 solo tackles and 29 assisted. Payne was named second team All-State by VaSID. But this season the Battlefield High product looks to reach All-American status.
1. Where did you interest in football come from?
Jake Payne: My interest in football came to me when I was a kid because of the hitting and the overall physicality of the game.
2. Any other sports you played as a kid?
JP: Growing up I played many different sports. I began with soccer then baseball and wrestling. By high school I had fallen in love with football and stopped playing baseball to focus on football and wrestling.
3. When did you realize your football talents? Was there one moment that stands out?
JP: I didn’t realize my football talents until my senior year of high school when I was voted as team captain. I was a very late bloomer so it wasn’t until the summer before my senior season that I started to develop.
4. How would you describe Catharpin?
JP: Catharpin is a very small rural town just 45 minutes west of DC. It’s actually a very sports oriented town. All the middle schools have competitive sports teams and even the little league teams are very competitive.
5. Walk me through your days playing at Battlefield. Were you a big man on campus type, or more reserved?
JP: Playing at Battlefield was an excellent experience. During my varsity tenure we won two district championships, three regional championships, and my junior year we won states. Being the captain of the team my senior year, and having a very outgoing personality I was pretty popular but I always remain humble.
6. What was the recruiting process coming out of high school like?
JP: I didn’t get recruited much until the end of my senior season. Although I was named AAA division 6 All-state, and honorable mention all-Met, the only division one interest I had was Old Dominion University. Other than that it was a lot of D3 schools. This was mainly because I was really undersized for a defensive end or OL/TE. At high school graduation day I weighed 202 pounds, however by the first day of camp freshman year I weighed 255 pounds. My mom even had me tested for steroids three times during that summer because she didn’t think it was possible to do that. I passed them all. I wasn’t joking when I said I was a late bloomer.
“My mom even had me tested for steroids three times during that summer because she didn’t think it was possible to do that. I passed them all. I wasn’t joking when I said I was a late bloomer.”
7. What was your decision to attend Shenandoah based on?
JP: I chose Shenandoah University because its only 45 minutes away from home so I could still be close with my family. Also, I felt very connected with the coaches.
8. What was the biggest difference between high school and college football?
JP: The biggest difference for me between high school and college was the speed of the game.
9. You played in all ten games as a freshman. Did you ever feel overwhelmed at all, or did you let the game come to you?
JP: I just went out there and played football. I knew as a freshman I didn’t have anything to lose, so I listened to my coaches, did my job, and trusted my instincts and eventually earned the starting spot.
10. What did it mean to you to be named a co-captain as a junior?
JP: Being named co-captain as a junior is possibly my proudest moment in football. I pride myself on my work ethic, and I feel that’s the reason my teammates voted me as captain.
“I am very active in my church and have done missions work in Guatemala.”
11. Your goals heading into your senior season?
JP: I want to help lead my team to winning the conference championship and be named an All-American. My freshman year at Shenandoah I told my defensive line coach that I will work my hardest every day and do everything I can to be named an all American and I plan on achieving that.
“My freshman year at Shenandoah I told my defensive line coach that I will work my hardest every day and do everything I can to be named an All-American. I plan on achieving that.”
12. What have you been doing training/diet wise to prepare yourself for the pro level?
JP: One of the biggest attributes of mine that separates me from others is my work ethic off the field. I take my training very seriously. I spend extra time in the weight room outside of our team lifting- not only lifting but doing a lot of injury prevention stuff. Another way I take care of my body is through my diet. I eat a ton, but healthy. I eat a lot of pasta, chicken, rice, turkey, fish and vegetables. This is how I was able to put on so much weight the summer after I graduated from high school because I usually eat around eight-thousand calories a day. When I’m bulking it’s close to 10 thousand. My friends always give me crap because I carry around a gallon jug of water wherever I go.
13. Who do you model your game after?
JP: I model my game after JJ Watt for many reasons. Whenever you hear someone talk about him they mention his work ethic, which as I mentioned earlier is something I pride myself on. The way he uses his hands to shed blockers and get lineman off him is something I model my game after. Also I strive to have a motor like him, tiring out lineman by being relentless as a pass rusher every time the quarterback drops back. I also model my game after Deacon Jones because there has never been a defensive end that plays with as much ferocity and anger as him.
“One of the biggest attributes of mine that separates me from others is my work ethic off the field. I take my training very seriously.”
14. You studied business administration. What would you hope to do with that degree?
JP: I plan on starting my own company one day. Something to do with sales. I enjoy talking to people.
15. Tell us about Jake Payne off the field.
JP: I am very active in my church and have done missions work in Guatemala. I play the piano- a lot of people wouldn’t see me as a musician.
16. Anyone you’d like to mention before we sign off?
JP: I thank God for the opportunities I have been afforded in my life. Also my parents- Chris and Ginny.
My older cousin Logan Payne, signed with Seattle as a free agent in 2007. He played college football at Minnesota, and has played with the Ravens, Lions, Chiefs, Vikings, and most recently the Jets. He has helped me a lot. He gives me advice. I even trained over the summer in Tampa, Florida with his speed trainer.
My uncle on my mom’s side, Johnny Curtis. He’s a former two-time All-American at George Mason. He wrestled in the Olympic trials. He does MMA and even won a heavyweight title after the age of 40. He also helps me with guidance and also gives me a wrestling base to use in my technique on the field.
Follow Jake on Twitter @ThePayneTrain99.
Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron.