Jonathan Paylor knows he is a top priority for NC State. The effort from the coaching staff is hard to ignore, with multiple staff members maintaining constant contact and frequently stopping by Burlington (NC) Cummings High to see the four-star wide receiver.
Going into the summer, the Wolfpack remains near the top of Paylor’s recruitment. The in-state athlete confirmed that South Carolina is still his leader, but NC State trails closely behind, and he still plans on taking four official visits before making a decision.
Clemson (June 2-4), Maryland (June 9-11), NC State (June 16-18) and South Carolina (June 23-25) will all welcome him to campus for officials this summer. While he did not completely shut the door on the possibility of more visits later in the year, he does plan on wrapping up his recruitment by the fall.
“After official visits, after I’m officially done with it, I’m going to set a commitment date and actually commit by the beginning of the season,” Paylor said.
Paylor shared that South Carolina continues to recruit him, and his father, harder than any other program, which puts the Gamecocks at the top of his list right now. NC State also continues to prioritize the receiver. Wide receivers coach Joker Phillips already visited Cummings High during the spring evaluation period, and head coach Dave Doeren will do the same at some point, Paylor said.
Doeren has visited the receiver’s school more than any other head coach, with South Carolina’s Shane Beamer following him closely. Over the years, Paylor built an extremely strong relationship with the Wolfpack head coach.
“It’s the same relationship with coach Joker— father and son,” Paylor said.
The receiver said his bond with Doeren extends beyond the surface level, and the head coach is now focused on what the four-star prospect needs to see from NC State before making his decision.
“All I’m waiting on is the upcoming season to see what they do,” Paylor said. “That’s it. There’s nothing that will make me not commit there right now, but all I have to see is what they’re going to do with this new offense.”
South Carolina is in a similar spot. He just wants to watch how they play going forward.
Paylor has definitely a familiar face in Raleigh at this point. The 5-9 receiver has visited campus 10 times, more than double any of the other three teams receiving official visits.
While on his most recent visit, a few NC State fans recognized him, which was one of the highlights of the trip. Each time Paylor stops by to see the Wolfpack, he leaves with an overwhelmingly positive impression.
“Everything about NC State was great… I love it, so that’s why I keep coming back,” Paylor said.
Offensive coordinator Robert Anae’s new system intrigues the versatile 5-9 pass catcher. He thrives in the slot and in the backfield for his high school team and could likely do the same with the Pack in the program’s new-look scheme.
“The new OC is amazing,” Paylor said. “I love coach Anae. I love him and the things they’re doing with the program, which is exploding, so I love it down there.”
Paylor plans on running track in college in addition to his career on the gridiron. Nyheim Hines is the perfect example of someone with the rising senior’s skill set who thrived at NC State and in the NFL. The receiver met the former NC State do-it-all running back during his recent trip to campus and described that introduction as “epic.”
They discussed how cross-training football with track can make a difference on the field.
“He loved that the track speed translated to on-the-field speed, and it separated him a lot, which got him drafted and everything like that…” Paylor said.
“He did everything that I’m doing now, so I’m like ‘Okay, there’s a repeating pattern somewhere of some guy that does it, so I can follow it.’”
That track record of helping two-sport athletes develop into productive professionals helps the Wolfpack’s standing, Paylor said.
During his spring trip to Raleigh, the receiver also spent time with Pack freshman Kevin Concepcion and watched him make plays in the spring game a couple of weeks later. He has talked to Doeren about opportunities for early playing time in the past, and the staff continues to provide proof that the pitch is genuine.
“Coach Doeren had told me personally he believes in guys that can come in and start as a true freshman, which he’s showing by letting KC get reps, learn the game as fast as he can and make an immediate impact,” Paylor said.
In addition to his bonds with the current members of the program, Paylor is also growing relationships with a pair of Wolfpack commits. He met Asaad Brown at one of NC State’s camps years ago. They matched up during one-on-one competition and instantly clicked as competitors.
“It went back and forth and then, after that, I stayed connected with him through social media,” Paylor said.
Brown confirmed with TheWolfpacker.com in April that the Cummings high receiver is the main prospect he is recruiting right now. Paylor is also talking to Cedrick Bailey Jr., who impressed the four-star pass catcher with his arm talent and athleticism.
“Things like that will help me commit there, if I do,” he said.
The On3 Industry Ranking considers Paylor the No. 248 recruit in the nation, the No. 41 wide receiver and the No. 6 prospect in North Carolina. South Carolina leads his Recruiting Prediction Machine (RPM) at 67.3 percent.
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