The 2019 Mississippi State football season is right around the corner, as there are just four more days until the Bulldogs take on Louisiana at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Today’s spotlighted player is No. 4, JaVonta Payton.
Payton, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, played his high school football at Hillsboro High School. He had 24 receptions for 452 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior and added 63 rushes for 484 yards and six touchdowns. He was a first team all-state selection and was named as the team’s offensive MVP. He then played in the 2016 Toyota East vs. West Tennessee All-Star Classic. He also ran track and won individual state titles in the 4x100-meter relay.
Coming out of high school, Payton was rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals, Scout.com and 247Sports.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder signed with Ole Miss out of high school but failed to qualify, so he spent two seasons at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He was considered to be one of the top-ranked junior college wide receivers in the country, rating as a four-star wide receiver by ESPN and ranked ninth overall in the ESPN JC50. He was also the top-ranked wide receiver in junior college according to ESPN. 247Sports ranked him as the 24th-best prospect and the second-best wide receiver in junior college.
As a sophomore at Northwest Mississippi Community College in 2018, Payton started nine of the 10 games he played and caught 23 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns. As a freshman, he started all but one game. He made 44 catches for 509 yards and nine touchdowns.
He then committed to Ole Miss again on Feb. 8, 2018, but he decommitted on Oct. 22, 2018 before committing to Mississippi State on Nov. 19, 2018 and signing with the Bulldogs on Feb. 6, 2019.
Heading into the 2019 season, Payton caught the attention of many media members during fall camp. He is a versatile playmaker on offense and will be in the mix at receiver. He will start out the 2019 season behind junior receiver Osirus Mitchell as one of the outside receivers.