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  JaVonta Payton stayed busy as a Mississippi State receiver the past two seasons. Now a graduate transfer at Tennessee, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder from Nashville believes he can have more of an impact in Josh Heupel's up-tempo offense than he did a year ago in Mike Leach's "Air Raid" attack. "With the Air Raid, it was a lot of sitting down in zones and reading the defenses," Payton said during a recent news conference. "I go deep a lot more now than I did when I was at State, so I would definitely say that this offense is more comfortable for me. I think I can bring a lot of speed to this offense. "I can run. Any DB that lines up with me needs to be ready to run."

Payton, who has one season of eligibility with the Volunteers, insists that sophomore receiver Jalin Hyatt and freshman defensive back De'Shawn Rucker are the only teammates who could potentially top him in a race. He has switched Southeastern Conference locales after tallying 28 catches for 372 yards and a touchdown during his stint in Starkville, which followed two seasons at Northwest (Mississippi) Community College. Tennessee's receiver position, like many others, was noticeably affected by departures following last season. Josh Palmer became a third-round pick of the Los Angeles Chargers, while Brandon Johnson transferred to Central Florida and Malachi Wideman to Jackson State. - Chattanooga Times Free Press

(DS#76 WR) rSr/2022 WR JaVonta PaytonTennessee
News Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press



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