National signing day 2012: Jordan Payton's odd journey ends at UCLA [Updated]
Payton, a wide receiver from Westlake Village Oaks Christian, signed with UCLA. He had previously orally committed to USC, California and Washington, doing so twice on television.
"It's crazy, but the people have to understand this process is crazy," Payton said. "You're giving an 18-year-old kid a decision of a lifetime. I wanted to make sure I made the right decision."
Payton said he gave up his USC commitment after learning more about the NCAA sanctions imposed. He said he loved California but the coaches who were recruiting him left. He liked Washington, but after discussions with his parents and a phone conversation with UCLA Coach Jim Mora that lasted to 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, Payton said, "I thought I'd be most successful at UCLA."
Payton is ranked 15th nationally among wide receivers by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.
Oaks Christian Coach Bill Redell said that Payton’s situation opens the entire recruiting process to criticism.
“A kid commits, it doesn’t slow anything down,” Redell said. “There is no such thing as your word anymore. I’m so mad at the situation. He shares some of the blame, but it’s not 100% on his shoulders. It’s the whole recruiting situation. It’s not fair on the players. It’s not fair on the coaches.”
-- Chris Foster
Photo: Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times