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Where are they now?: The recruits that could have been

Today we reflect on a player that never committed to the Broncos, but there was a lot of chatter about him. For people who follow recruiting, he was a highly discussed name for quite some time. His name is Davien Payne.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Hailing from Citrus Hill High School in Perris California, Payne was a RB listed at 6’ 212 lbs. That’s a solid 17 year old. He also ran a 4.6s 40. That isn’t mind-blowing speed by running back standards, but that’s pretty quick to get 212 lbs moving. Then the problem is, how do you stop it? Well, if you watched his highlight tape 437 times like myself, you don’t.  At least not very well. If you have not watched his highlight tapes, treat yourself below. You notice an incredibly physical runner who welcomes contact. He can be a bit erratic, but overall impressive; impressive enough to warrant offers from multiple PAC 12 schools, along with our beloved Broncos.

Recruited by the now departed (not "dearly", just to UW) Keith Bhonapha, he received his offer in March of 2011, seemingly plenty of time to make a decision. Maybe it was too much time. The Broncos offered several other backs, just like they do every class, to cover their bases. That window of opportunity quickly shut on Payne as Jack Fields and Devan Demas committed to the Broncos just 4 days apart from each other in June of 2011. The likelihood of anyone outside of the SEC taking more than 2 backs are about as good as the Vandals winning the Sun Belt. A few months later, Payne committed to the Colorado Buffaloes.

As part of the 2012 recruiting class, he red shirted like many true freshman. Things began to go south for Payne in March of 2013 when he was suspended for a violation of team rules, and in June, was no longer a part of the program after becoming academically ineligible. Payne’s troubling story gets worse. On August 17th, he was arrested and later "charged with felony aggravated motor vehicle theft and two counts of second-degree assault" according to a Huffington Post article, which you can read here.Payne later plead guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft and second-degree assault on a police officer, both felonies. Through a plea bargain, Payne agreed to one year probation and work release.

Prior to completing his probation, Payne was again arrested in November of 2014 after assaulting a student and stealing a rifle with two other individuals. He faced first-degree burglary and second-degree assault and robbery charges. I have been unable to find out if he has been to court yet on these charges.

Needless to say, a talented, young man’s bright future was cut short by bad decision making. It would be conjecture to say his fate would have been different in Boise than it was in Boulder. Boise is an incredibly safe place to live and go to school, but there is just as much opportunity for growth as there is sabotage. I, for one, hope he can right his wrongs  and I think I speak for everyone when I say I hope Davien can turn himself around.