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5-star defensive tackle Damon Payne commits to Alabama Crimson Tide

5-star defensive tackle Damon Payne commits to Alabama Crimson Tide

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The sizzling recruiting summer for Alabama football continued on Sunday as five-star defensive tackle Damon Payne of Belleville, Mich., committed to the Crimson Tide

Payne is the 16th commitment for Alabama’s 2021 recruiting class. Fifteen of those commitments have come since May. He announced his decision on CBS Sports TV.

Payne — ranked the No. 2 in-state prospect by The Detroit News — had previously announced that his final 10 included Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona State, USC and Alabama.

Payne played last season at 6-4 and 310 pounds as a junior but is down to 290 this summer.

“He’s gotten stronger,” his high school coach Jermain Crowell told The Detroit News earlier this week.

“Played at 310 last year. This year he’s down to 290, so he’s faster, leaner and I think it’s going to help him be more explosive. He’s the top defensive tackle in the country. He’s big, fast and strong. He’s hard to stop.

“I think last year with him trying to get bigger, it was experimental on his end, but now he understands, especially going both ways and not coming off the field, that leaner is better.”

Payne took a visit to Michigan in early February, then told The News after watching his teammates sign national letter of intents on Feb. 5: “I like Michigan. I really like it up there. I’m building a relationship with Coach Nua (defensive line coach Shaun Nua), and I want to get up there more.”

The Detroit News contributed to this report.

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