Payton Person taking big strides
Quality quarterbacks come in all shapes and size. If you don’t believe it, check out current NFL studs Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Michael Vick. Take a look at the college game, where defending Heisman Trophy champ Johnny Manziel is having another banner season. And go back in time and recollect undersized stars like Fran Tarkenton, Len Dawson and Doug Flutie.
Having good size is usually a good thing on the football field, particularly at quarterback. But athletic ability and desire can never be measured.
At 5-foot-11, 140 pounds. Payton Person is not the biggest player in uniform, but he’s usually one of the best. The Issaquah (Wash.) High School freshman led his team to a 7-1 record this season. Person passed for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns while earning team Co-Offensive Player of the Year honors. “We had a really great season and the team showed a lot of effort,” Person said. “We finished 7-1. It would have been nice to have a perfect season, but we rebounded and beat the team (Skyline) we lost to.”
Person was called up to the varsity during the season, and it was a memorable experience. “It was a great honor and a great opportunity to learn the plays and become familiar with the terminology,” he said. “I was able to get out there and adjust to the speed of the varsity game. Next year, I want to compete for the varsity starting quarterback job. I think I have a great opportunity to do that. I want to get a little bit faster, work on my running game a little bit and definitely work to improve my mechanics, as always.”
Person is also going to continue growing while working to add some size. “I definitely need to bulk up more so I can take hits from the bigger guys,” he said. “Also, just work on getting more zip on the ball and improve my accuracy. Get quicker and get out of my cuts faster.”
Person is always working to improve his skills as a football player, and look for the trend to continue at the high school level. Attending NFA camps since the fifth grade have also been a huge help for Person. “I think NFA is the reason I’m where I’m at,” he said. “I started playing quarterback in fifth grade and they really made my mechanics the way they are.”
NFA Coach JC Boice has been a driving force behind Person’s development at QB. “Payton is good athlete, but he’s not one of those kids that is 6-foot-5 with an imminent D-1 body,” Boice said. “But what Payton does do is work extremely hard. He is very hungry and he has no problem doing the little things and grinding day in and day out. For a coach, when you see a kid willing to do that, it becomes really easy to give him the extra time. His mechanics have improved substantially this season and his ball flight, ball speed and accuracy have improved with it. He is a smart kid that is very coachable and he is hungry for the game. He’s really one of those kids that by his senior year, everybody is going to be wondering where he came from. NFA is very excited for him and when his senior moment arrives, we won’t be surprised.”