LUCAS, Texas (BVM) — There is plenty of football talent at the prep level in Texas, and one of the top players in the Class of 2024, Payton Pierce, is gearing up for his final season with Lovejoy High School.
Pierce has been suiting up for the Leopards since transferring from Allen, but his play on the field has allowed him to be recruited by D-I football programs hoping to bolster their defenses for the future.
“The recruiting process was great,” Pierce said. “Going on these trips with my dad and seeing these schools with my parents was pretty special, and I’ve met so many people, so many coaches and I have so many relationships built from this process, so it’s been super fun … but I’m glad it’s over.”
According to 247Sports, Pierce held a total of 40 offers from schools including Arkansas, LSU, Ohio State, Texas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Pierce had a lengthy recruiting process and talked to every team he could, but ultimately, he decided to further his athletic career in Columbus.
Committed to The Ohio State University. pic.twitter.com/T9cQjgevQf
— Payton Pierce (@payton_pierce26) April 11, 2023
“I’m playing at Ohio State, which is second to none, and you’re on the biggest stage,” Pierce said. “They kind of recruited me late, but I got to visit, and it just felt like the right choice. I knew it right when I was there … I went to watch practice and workouts, and it was the right culture and the right type of team.”
Pierce still has one more year before becoming a Buckeye, where he will have plenty of potential to succeed, but he will also have the opportunity to show the nation why he has a top-notch competitive drive, which was generated as a wrestler.
“I actually was brought into wrestling before football,” Pierce said. “It was really my main sport for a while and then growing up, football started to get bigger, and it became a sport I realized I had a future in.”
Wrestling has helped Pierce in more ways than he could imagine, but his brother, Oliver Pierce, also inspired him to compete at a high level.
“My brother wrestled collegiately at Oklahoma and Arizona State, so I’ve grown up in the wrestling room,” Payton said. “There’s a saying that says, ‘Once you’ve wrestled, everything in life is easy,’ and I feel like it is. Going through those [wrestling] practices every week and cutting weight has definitely helped, plus it makes the physical stuff easier and a lot of coaches are happy to know that I’ve wrestled. So, it’s kind of been a big part of my life.”
— Chris Ross (@ChrisRossLOJO) January 21, 2023
— Payton Pierce (@payton_pierce26) June 17, 2023
Pierce’s wrestling career has clearly been instrumental to his development, and it’s led him to have a successful football career that saw him record 131 tackles and six sacks during the 2022 season, according to Texasfootball.com. His football career was also amplified by a Tik Tok video that was released by the “QB Plug” in March.
SUPERMAN Linebacker does it ALL!!! 🤯
“I didn’t know if it was a joke, but I said sure when he said he wanted to make a video because he was part of the ‘QB plug,’” Payton said. “I didn’t know if that was because I kind of played quarterback, but we filmed the video … and I kind of forgot about it, but one night I went to bed, woke up and my phone was dinging, and the dude posted it, and it just blew up.”
The video has garnered nearly 9.5 million views and helped get Payton’s name out there more, but it also showed that Payton was willing to do anything to help his team win.
“Payton is an elite athlete and an elite competitor as well,” Lovejoy head football coach Chris Ross said in an interview with Texasfootball.com. “His drive to be elite is incredible … and he’s such an unselfish person as well. He makes us immediately better with just his attitude and energy.”
— Billy Embody (@BillyEmbody) May 10, 2023
Plenty of people in Texas have seen that energy and his will to win, but he wants Buckeye and college football fans to know that he’s ready to give it his all at the collegiate level.
“They’re going to see somebody who’s playing fast, and I’m going to give 100% effort on every play,” Payton said. “They’ll get to see that I’m ready to help the team bring a national championship back to Ohio State.”
With a spot waiting for him in Columbus, Pierce is still focused on his senior season with the Leopards, but no matter where he is, he will continue to carry his love for football and will be thankful he started to compete on the gridiron.
“Football has meant a lot to me, and it’s provided me an opportunity to get free college and potentially have a career in it,” Payton said. “So, I’m super grateful for football, and I think a lot of it is what you put in is what you get out, and I put a lot of hours into football, and it’s one of my favorite things to do. I’m happy it exists, and so I’ve been fortunate enough to be athletic enough to play at the next level, but I’m excited for [what lies ahead].”