Chartiers Valley’s Lamont Payne thriving since committing to Penn State
Sunday, October 24, 2021 | 11:01 AM
Lamont Payne has lived up to his surname, as he has been a big pain for opposing coaches to game plan around.
The Chartiers Valley junior is always looking to help his team on offense at wide receiver or on defense as a cornerback.
The one thing Payne is no longer looking for is a college once he graduates from high school in 2023.
The highly recruited Payne recently committed to Penn State.
“Why not Penn State?” Payne said. “It’s one of the best schools in the country, not only for sports but for your degree.”
Chartiers Valley coach Dan Knause has seen a change in his star junior since he made the announcement at halftime of the Nittany Lions’ win over Auburn on Sept. 18.
“I believe Lamont is more relaxed since his commitment,” Knause said. “We want him to enjoy his high school experience because it goes by so fast. He understands that there will be people scrutinizing his every move. The attention of being a Big Ten commit at the age of 16 is a blessing and a curse. It comes with a lot of positive and sometimes negative attention. The social media world we live in can magnify things.
“Overall, he’s handling it well and knows he has a huge support system with his family and the coaching staff.”
Payne agrees with his coach.
“My game has been upped even more now with all the stress and weight (of a college decision) taken off my shoulders. I can just ball,” he said.
Payne’s athletic ability is what makes him stand out on the football field.
“Lamont is a long and smooth athlete,” Knause said. “He has a nice ability to go up and get the ball on both sides of the ball. He has very strong hands and can be very physical when engaged at the line of scrimmage. He continues to work on his physicality as a tackler and run fitter.”
Payne has worked hard to improve his game at Chartiers Valley in the weight room and in the film room.
“I’ve improved on basically everything, my technique, ball skills and physicality,” he said. “I also have been working on my football IQ and reading the quarterback.”
Knause believes the hard work is paying off as this season progresses.
“Lamont continues to gain football IQ, which helps his natural skillset,” he said. “Lamont is always willing to work on his craft on both sides of the ball. Overall, he’s a kid who enjoys the process and is active and vocal at our practices. As he moves forward in his career, he will continue to learn how to be a leader.”
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound junior who will play cornerback at Penn State was hampered by an ankle injury earlier this season that had limited his numbers at wide receiver.
“He kept a positive attitude and kept his focus on getting better,” Knause said.
“Over the past few weeks, his production has increased due to him getting healthier. On defense, his reputation and production from last year limit the number of balls thrown his way. We consistently talk about controlling the controllable, and he does a nice job staying positive. Lamont is always happy for his teammates’ success and that is an important quality in our program.”
Payne has formed a strong 1-2 combination with fellow wide receiver Abe Ibrahim, a senior. Both average in double-digits in yards per catch.
“Abe has always been a very talented player and it’s always great to see my teammates do well and get recognition,” Payne said. “At the end of the day, it’s a team. So everything is not about me. It’s about everyone.”
After the Colts missed the WPIAL football playoffs in Payne’s freshman year, they qualified for the postseason last year after finishing second to Aliquippa in the 4A Parkway Conference. They lost in their first game to Belle Vernon, 49-21.
Payne made it clear that one and done is not an option in 2021.
“We need more than just the first round in the playoffs,” he said.
Tags: Chartiers Valley
More Football• 2022 Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team: Laurel Highlands’ Rodney Gallagher
• Westmoreland H.S. notebook: Belle Vernon’s Quinton Martin visits Florida State
• 2022 Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team: Penn-Trafford’s Joe Enick
• New coach presiding over positive offseason for Penn Hills football
• 2022 Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team: Leechburg’s Braylan Lovelace