Five-star recruit Damon Payne commits to Alabama

By Matt Johnson
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban seemed to be struggling on the recruiting trail a few months ago. Now, Alabama is on a hot streak after reeling in a commitment from five-star recruit Damon Payne.

Five-star recruit Damon Payne commits to Alabama Crimson Tide

When the Crimson Tide rolled into June, they didn’t even have a top-40 recruiting class. Nearly two months later, following the commitment of defensive tackle Damon Payne, Alabama is skyrocketing up the recruiting rankings.

Payne, a 6-foot-3 defensive lineman from Belleville, Michigan, announced on Sunday that he will take his talents to Tuscaloosa. Rated as the No. 1 defensive tackle in the 2021 recruiting class, per 247 Sports, the young lineman could become the next dominant force on Alabama’s defensive line.

Named to Michigan’s All-State Team before the 2020 season, Payne received more than two dozen offers with programs like Georgia, LSU Oklahoma, Oregon and USC all desperate to land the interior force.

Ultimately, the opportunity to play at Alabama and join a program with a rich history of sending defensive linemen to the NFL made the difference.

Alabama’s 2021 recruiting class

Following Payne’s commitment, Alabama is on a streak of reeling in five-star recruits over the past month. After ranking outside the top-40 a month ago, the Crimson Tide boast one of the best recruiting classes in the country.

Saban received commitments from five-star offensive tackle Tommy Brockermeyer, the No. 5 overall recruit in the country, and fellow five-star tackle JC Latham. Now, the Crimson Tide will head into August with four five-star recruits, tied with Ohio State for the most in the country.

With Payne on board, Alabama boasts 247 Sports’ No. 2 class in the 2021 recruiting cycle. Saban could now turn his attention to five-star defensive tackle Maason Smith and five-star defensive backs Ga’Quincy McKinstry and Jason Marshall.