Da’Ron Payne is a force. Standing at 6 feet, 2 inches and weighing in at 308 pounds, Payne uses every ounce of his considerable strength to manhandle interior offensive linemen and stop running backs in their tracks. Yet, the burly tackle is still quick enough to chase down players half his size.
Want proof of his dominance? Look no further than this year’s national championship. He was a rock in the trenches, tallying up six tackles and slowing down a dangerous Georgia offense when the game was on the line.
And now, he’s ready for the biggest step yet in his career – pro football. But before he’s wreaking havoc on Sundays, let’s take a second to break down why this Alabama alum in tailor-made for today’s modern game.
HE FINISHED HIS COLLEGE CAREER ON TOP OF THE WORLD
The Crimson Tide’s win over Georgia felt extra sweet because of how the previous year ended – with a heartbreaking loss to Clemson in the title game. “This year’s win definitely felt like redemption,” Payne said. “We definitely weren’t going to leave without that trophy.”
HE IS AT HIS BEST DURING THE BIGGEST MOMENTS
We mentioned the impressive stats Payne put up during the championship, but even those doesn’t fully explain how dominant he was. He seemed to live in the Bulldog backfield, providing constant pressure and shutting down opposing running lanes. The stage was the brightest and Payne was ready to rise to the occasion. “I could tell we needed that,” Payne explained. “That’s just what big-time players do. When it’s time to shine, you need to go out there, put on a show for your team, and do everything you can to help your team win.”
HE’S FOCUSED ON BEING A COMPLETE PLAYER
Sure, being a sack artist may be more glamorous, but Payne is focused on becoming a complete player. His explosive pass rush skills are matched by his dominance against the run. “For me, it’s all about using my strength to win at the point of attack,” he said.
HE HAS BEEN INSPIRED BY THE BEST
Payne definitely has his own unique playing style, but when asked who he grew up watching, he lists guys such as Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, and Ndamukong Suh. That’s some good company to keep.
HE’S MORE THAN JUST A FOOTBALL PLAYER
Off the gridiron, Payne has a unique hobby – collecting retro cars. “That comes from my dad,” Payne said. “He always had old-school cars. One day, he gave me one, and after that I took it and ran with it.” A ’97 Impala is currently the crown jewel of Payne’s collection, but expect that to grow even more once he hits the pros.