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Breaking Fri. night: Cummings’ Jonathan Paylor makes decision on college football choice

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By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Highly-touted Cummings football multi-purpose back Jonathan Paylor has chosen to play next year in college at North Carolina State; he says he leaned toward the Wolfpack from early in the process and felt particularly appreciated during his visits to Raleigh.

There were inklings as far back as last fall that the Wolfpack would be the choice.

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“It always felt like home every time I went,” Paylor said. “Once they chanted my name, it was a wrap. They chanted my name when I went into the crowd. It was just a fun experience.”

Paylor’s much-anticipated announcement came Friday night in the Cummings gym, where there was quite a bit of red and a swarm of Wolfpack-related recruiting media on hand.

“It really feels amazing to me,” he said. “I got it done and over with. I’m in there, so now I’m ready to rock and roll.”

A multi-purpose back, he’ll play his senior high school season for the Cavaliers under coach David Grimm.

“You deserve this day, and I’m glad you’re on my team,” Grimm said. “They’re getting an exceptional, quality person who is a great teammate.”

Paylor has been considered a high-level recruit for several years. So college recruiters were checking on him regularly.

“It was about where can I be and excel as a student-athlete,” Paylor said.

Bernard Pinnix, the player’s guardian, said the process came to a successful conclusion.

“I’m glad (it reached this point), but I’m happy,” Pinnix said. “The reason I’m happy is he can go to college for free and he won’t have debt. This is a culmination of a dream.”

Paylor told Bramond McRae, a Cummings teammate and close friend, a few weeks ago how he was leaning.

“He said, ‘I think State is where I want to be,’ ” McRae recalled. “He was stressed. It was a hard decision.”

South Carolina was the runner-up, Paylor said. Other finalists were Maryland, North Carolina, and Penn State.

Paylor made a visit to N.C. State a week prior to his announcement. That was the clincher.

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Highly-touted Cummings football multi-purpose back Jonathan Paylor has chosen to play next year in college at North Carolina State; he leaned toward the Wolfpack from early in the process and feeling particularly appreciated.

There were inklings as far back as last fall that the Wolfpack would be the choice.

“It always felt like home every time I went,” Paylor said. “Once they chanted my name, it was a wrap. They chanted my name when I went into the crowd. It was just a fun experience.”

Paylor’s much-anticipated announcement came Friday night in the Cummings gym, where there was quite a bit of red and a swarm of Wolfpack-related recruiting media on hand.

“It really feels amazing to me,” he said. “I got it done and over with. I’m in there, so now I’m ready to rock and roll.”

A multi-purpose back, he’ll play his senior high school season for the Cavaliers under coach David Grimm.

“You deserve this day, and I’m glad you’re on my team,” Grimm said. “They’re getting an exceptional, quality person who is a great teammate.”

Paylor has been considered a high-level recruit for several years. So college recruiters were checking on him regularly.

“It was about where can I be and excel as a student-athlete,” Paylor said.

Bernard Pinnix, the player’s guardian, said the process came to a successful conclusion.

“I’m glad (it reached this point), but I’m happy,” Pinnix said. “The reason I’m happy is he can go to college for free and he won’t have debt. This is a culmination of a dream.”

Paylor told Bramond McRae, a Cummings teammate and close friend, a few weeks ago how he was leaning.

“He said, ‘I think State is where I want to be,’ ” McRae recalled. “He was stressed. It was a hard decision.”

South Carolina was the runner-up, Paylor said. Other finalists were Maryland, North Carolina, and Penn State.

Paylor made a visit to N.C. State a week prior to his announcement. That was the clincher.

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Jonathan Paylor signs autographs for youths after the announcement.

Paylor, a four-star recruit, has been rated among the top 250 players nationally in the Class of 2024.

Paylor will be the second Cummings alum to play under coach Dave Doeren with the Wolfpack.

Offensive lineman Will Richardson, who was in the Class of 2014 at Cummings, was a starter for N.C. State. He later played in the NFL until he was released last summer by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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South Carolina was deemed a frontrunner earlier this summer by some recruiting projections. The Gamecocks were the only Southeastern Conference team to make Paylor’s cut of finalists. South Carolina’s current roster has six players from North Carolina.

“They were on top,” Pinnix said. “Slowly along the way, N.C. State edged them out.”

North Carolina had been a destination for past prospects from Cummings during the past couple of decades. Receivers Brandon Tate and Dwight Jones played for the Tar Heels. Tate played in the NFL. Linebacker Durrell Mapp of Cummings also played for North Carolina. He joined the Tar Heels as a walk-on and turned into a key defensive player.

Quarterback Chuckie Burnette out of Cummings joined the North Carolina program in the late 1990s.

During the past month, North Carolina received commitments from Class of 2024 receivers Alex Taylor (from Greensboro Grimsley) and Jordan Shipp (from Providence Day School in Charlotte). The Tar Heels have 25 total commitments for the recruiting class.

“I thought they might get him, too,” Pinnix said of Paylor.

The Gamecocks had associate head coach/special teams coordinator Pete Lembo, a former Elon head coach, among the recruiters for Paylor. South Carolina receivers coach Justin Stepp was heavily involved.

Paylor has been a state champion as a sprinter in both indoor and outdoor track and field.

Cummings begins its football season August 18 at home against Eden Morehead.

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