Payne's decision timetable was a short one as the outstanding student with a 4.2 GPA was an early graduate and in two weeks time will rapidly shift gears and begin classes at Cal.
After missing much of his junior season with a hip pointer, Payne recently became a hot recruiting commodity after films were released to his schools of interest and the big DT began reeling in offers. After visiting Rice, Tulane and Iowa State, Payne set his sights on the west, visiting Arizona State in December before taking his 5th and final visit to Cal this weekend.
"The visit went great and I committed to Cal," said Payne. "Coach Thompson's been my main recruiter for Cal since they've been interested in me," he continued. "I had a chance to meet him when he visited and I really like the Cal coaches.
"Being from Texas, I didn't know a lot about Cal before this year but I've had a chance to see them play on TV and I know their academics are some of the strongest around."
"Kendrick was a leader on our football team," said Klein Forest Head Coach Kenny Hammock. "He leads by example and is a man of few words.
"Kendrick plays the run and pass equally well and had to play against double-teams all year. When we played Aldine he had a game-winning sack on Darron Thomas (former LSU commit that switched his commitment to Oregon last month) before he had a chance to get the ball off in our 13-12 win.
"He also got some good training from his uncle, Harvey Williams, who starred for LSU along with the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. I know Harvey worked him and some of the others guys out quite a bit."
Prior to his visit to Cal, Payne had been impressed by his previous suitors, especially Arizona State.
"I'd have to say that all of my visits exceeded my expectations but up till now, Arizona State was the one that stood out the most.
All the schools I was looking at really had a need for defensive tackles, so I knew I'd at least have a shot at playing wherever I ended up.
Payne possesses good speed for a big man, running a 4.90 forty. He put up 44 tackles, 6 TFL's, 7 sacks and 4 hurries on the year and was Co-Defensive MVP of his district his senior season.
Payne will team with incoming defensive tackle Trevor Guyton to hopefully form a strong nucleus for the Bears at defensive tackles for years to come.
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