That all changed with a call from new Southern Miss head Coach Todd Monken. It happened in such an unusual way that he became the last to find out about it.
"I was at the mall when I saw a call from a number I didn't know," he explains in an interview with GoldenEaglepride.com.
"Its real loud in the mall so I could't hear anything very well. I was just like, 'yes sir, yes sir.' Then after the phone call, my head Coach called and said, 'did you just get an offer from Southern Miss?'
"I told him 'I don't think so.' He talked to the coaches and found out that I did. So there I was with an offer and I didn't even know it."
As he talked about Southern Miss, it was obvious how much this offer means to him.
"I think it is a great school," he said. "It is one of my top schools, and I can see myself having a future there.
"We haven't talked about how I'd fit in there if I went there, but I feel sure I'd be playing on offense though."
Even though it is not his first offer, it is unique because it is the first FBS offer ever for anyone at his school.
"It feels real good and I know it is special," he said. "I have to recognize my teammates becauase without their hard work and dedication I wouldn't be here. Without an offensive line a running back can't do much.
"This is as much for them as it is me."
The big, strong running back talked about his strengths and what he could bring to a program at the next level.
"I think I am a downhill runner because I like to lower my shoulder and run through guys," he said.
"I also play safety and I love to hit. I just love the contact either on offense or defense."
Payne received his first offer from Samford. He's also hearing a lot from UAB and the Citadel. He plans on taking official visits in January to Southern Miss, UAB, and Samford.
He also informed us that he didn't want to decide until he's visited all schools. "Finding a place that is just like home to me is most important," he said. "Its a big decision. I want to make sure I make the right one for me."
Payne said he's been clocked at a 4.46 40 at camps during the summer.
We'll continue to track Payne and other Eagle prospects as we head toward signing day.