NIU rallied for a 30-27 victory over Iowa Saturday.
2013: True freshman appeared in nine games, starting in two...Made 35 tackles including 23 solo stops on the season...Also broke up three passes and recorded 2.5 tackles for loss...Made three tackles in his first career appearance at Purdue (9-28)...Forced a fumble and made a career-high five tackles in a win at Kent State (10-5)...Broke up a pass and made five stops in his first career start against Akron (10-12)...Made five tackles and broke up a pass at Central Michigan (10-19)...Made five tackles for a fourth straight week against Eastern Michigan (10-26)...Registered four stops at UMass (11-2)...Tallied 4.5 tackles including a TFL and added a pass break up against Ball State (11-13).
High School: Two-time all-state and three-time all-area and all-conference honoree at Proviso West High School. Ranked as the 16th-best prospect from the Chicago area by CBS Sports' Tom Lemming. Awarded the team's MVP award each of the last two seasons. Selected to the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl following the 2012 campaign. Combined for 375 tackles, 16 forced fumbles, 13 pass breakups, seven interceptions, four blocked kicks and two fumble recoveries in three seasons at Proviso West. Named the player of the year in the West Suburban Conference's Silver Division while playing running back and linebacker. Gained 1,002 yards and scored 25 touchdowns on 150 carries as a senior. Added 150 tackles, eight forced fumbles, four passes defensed, two interceptions, two blocked kicks and a fumble recovery as a linebacker in 2012. Named the Silver Division's defensive player of the year in 2011. Posted 125 tackles, five forced fumbles and four interceptions in 10 games with the Panthers as a junior. Returned an interception 103 yards for a touchdown in a 2011 matchup with Chicago Hubbard, setting the school record for longest INT return. Ran 120 times for 998 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. Debuted on the PWHS varsity squad as a sophomore, rushing for 925 yards and 20 touchdowns, while adding 100 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception on defense. Member of PWHS' track & field team. Personal:Born Nov. 11, 1994, in Chicago, Ill. Son of Rodney and Doris Payton. Wants to major in industrial engineering. Volunteers as a drill team sergeant. Enjoys cooking, designing/building and collecting model airplanes. Admires Mike Singletary and Patrick Willis.
PAYTON'S SINGLE GAME CAREER HIGHS
Tackles: 5, four times, last vs. Eastern Michigan, 10-26-13