Maurice Payne grew up in San Diego, California and attended Grossmont Community College to start off his collegiate career.
I started off asking Payne what his experience was like in college and he said, “ college was a roller coaster of emotions. I started off at Grossmont playing running back. Where I didn’t really see much of the field until my sophomore season. It was an eventful experience to say the least. I ended up actually not going to school for about 2 years after being blessed with my daughter in 2012. Luckily I was a qualifier out of high school and tested out of high school and had tested high enough into classes I was able to transfer to New Mexico highlands in the fall of 2014 as a cornerback. That was short lived as I ended up coming back home after fall camp and transferring to Tabor College where I finished out my college career as a safety.”
At Tabor College, Payne played in 20 games where he made 83 tackles (50 solo and 33 assisted), 3.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, three interceptions and one touchdown during his two year career.
After his collegiate career, I asked Payne what continued to drive him to play football and he said, “I have two kids now and that’s what drives me every day. I used to just wake up without attacking the day, going through the motions. My children gave me a purpose and showed me that this world is bigger than just myself. So until my family doesn’t have to want anything I have to keep working until that day comes.”
Due to his success in college, Payne got another opportunity to continue his football career in the Indoor Football League (IFL) as a member of the Cedar Rapids Titans.
I asked Payne about his experience at the Cedar Rapids training camp and he said, “Playing for Cedar Rapids was a great experience. The fact that I was allowed to have an opportunity to showcase my abilities is all that someone can ask for when chasing their dreams. It gave me great experience considering my head coach was an NFL veteran named Marvin Jones who played for the New York Jets for about 10 years. Being able to be in that professional atmosphere with guys who were at that top level who showed me that I need to stick to the course and that no matter what adversity that you have to face in life you’re going to have to overcome it physically, mentally and spiritually if you want to achieve your dreams. I am in the best shape of my life right now and hoping I can get a shot with the CFL/NFL and showcase my abilities with the new leagues that are coming up that look to be a positive thing for people like myself are relentless in pursuing their dreams.”
Payne has been able to learn a lot from his time at Cedar Rapids. Being able to learn from professional athletes in the IFL will ultimately help prepare him for an opportunity within the NFL or CFL. Wide receivers are elite in any league whether it be IFL, CFL, or NFL so being able to have the opportunity to play in coverage against these athletes allows Payne to continue to grow even during the offseason.
I asked Payne what he enjoyed doing during his free time and he said, “ I enjoy learning about new methods of training and ways to help improve my life and those that are close to me. If I’m constantly improving myself I can help elevate other peoples lives around me.”
Payne has the athletic ability and drive to succeed within the NFL or CFL. Watching this man in coverage is impressive as he has a good sense of reading the ball and recognizing plays before the snap. His speed and arms are outstanding and beware of his tackling ability as he is a hard hitter. Payne deserves an opportunity to prove himself within the NFL/CFL and will succeed in whatever league he ends up in.