Saturday, April 13, 2024

Draven Payne signs with Hastings College

Draven Payne signs to play football at Hastings College seated with his mom, Tara Due.  Behind are Payne's siblings from the left Grady, Finley and Maddox.  In the back row from the left are his dad, Anthony Due, EMF Assistant Coach Jordan Pella and Hastings College Head Coach Matt Franzen.

Draven Payne inked his name on the dotted line to play football at Hastings College next year in a ceremony on Thursday, March 21 in the Exeter-Milligan commons.

The EMF senior return team member had a big season for the Bobcats in the safety position but also playing end Payne has been a versatile player for the Bobcats as he spent part of his junior year in the fullback position.  

Payne is well known for his speed on the field and hopes to convert some of that speed as a safety at Hastings College.

He really liked the campus and the coaches at Hastings and looks forward to playing with EMF teammate Breckan Schluter.

His senior season was one of highlights for the Bobcats and for Payne.  Their underdog trip to the state championship formed “bonds that will last forever,” according to Payne.

One of the highlights for Payne in that game was his interception at the State Championship game in Memorial Stadium.

He had 454 total return yards this season and with 17 kickoff returns for 323 yards and 12 punt returns for 131 yards.  Payne notched three interceptions for the season including the highlight reel worthy snatch against Stanton.

The biggest challenge that Payne noted was the transition from eight man football to 11 man.  He also realizes that college players are a lot bigger than high school and plans to spend a lot of time in the weight room this summer.

EMF Co Head Coach Kory Kahlandt has full confidence that Payne will make the transition to college football without too much trouble. “I think Draven is a very coachable kid.  All the teachers and his past coaches will tell you the same thing. You tell him to do something and he will go do it.”

He saw a lot of growth in Payne this year especially in leadership.  “He would come off and try to get the guys fired up.  Knowing he is a quiet kid normally. . . He would come off the field and be amped up.  He would just get his teammates fired up.”

EMF Co-Head Coach Jim Pfeiffer echoed Kahlandt’s thoughts on both Schluter and teammate Draven Payne, “They were leaders in our program and through their hardwork they were able to raise the level of play for our entire team.  Their ability to be willing to meet every challenge head on, the not being afraid to work hard to reach a goal, and their coachability prepares them well for the next level.”

Attending the signing was Hastings College head coach Matt Franzen. He emphasized the change in direction that Hastings has taken in the past three years since he took the helm, “We want to recruit well close to home, to have a presence in your own backyard.”

For recruiting he is trying to “bring a balanced class every year.” 

He is meeting his goals of a balanced class of recruits with the two Bobcats he has signed.  He hopes to use Breckan Schluter for offense and for Payne is “to play on defense, a perimeter position, possibly outside linebacker or safety.”

So while they have been teammates for the last six years, often playing side by side, next year they will be playing on opposite sides of the ball.

Pfeiffer added,”I enjoyed the heck out of their never give up, mental and physical toughness, as well as their ability to have fun with the game.  Hastings College with Coach Franzen leading the Broncos is a program on the rise and Breckan and Draven are two kids who can become leaders like they were for us at EMF.”


Kahlandt summed up his thoughts on Payne, “It didn’t matter what position he played he just made the team better.”

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