Four-Star Receiver Getting Comfortable with Maryland, Impressed with Facilities

The offseason never really came for Cummings (NC) four-star receiver Jonathan Paylor as he’s shifted his focus from football to track. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound athlete competes in the 55, 60 and 300-meter races while also taking part in the 4×2. In the spring, Paylor looks ahead to topping as his top-end speed will be on full display once again in the 100, 200, and 400 meter races while also taking part in the 4×4 and 4×1.

Paylor, who has been running track since sixth grade, enjoys being a dual-sport athlete leading into his senior year. For college football coaches who watch Paylor run a 6.34 second in the 55 meter among other events, the North Carolina speedster has emerged as one of the top receivers nationally.

“Pretty smooth. I’m really starting to get an understanding of what schools I’m into,” Paylor told IBG. Paylor visited Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina, NC State and South Carolina this fall while also making his first trip to College Park for the Ohio State game. Wide receiver coach Gunter Brewer has led the charge for the four-star target and was back in North Carolina three weeks ago to check on the top target.

“That’s my dog,” Paylor added. He admitted that expectations for the Terps were up in the air heading into the visit, but between the gameday visit and the interest since, Maryland has become a player in his recruitment.

“It was great. They have a beautiful campus, have great facilities. It was kind of insane, that was probably top three facilities I’ve ever seen. But just overall being around the fans, being around the mascot, being on the field with the coaches, talking with the players after the game. Really getting a chance to evaluate the program, it was great.”

Though Maryland signed five receivers through the high school ranks and two more through the portal, Brewer and Paylor keep in touch “probably like every couple of days” as the Terps look to replenish the room once more for 2024. “I really think they can throw the ball and get the ball in my hands. The type of offense they’re going to become over time due to getting those recruits, they’re going to be high-powered.” Paylor has a comparable player he’s watching to examine his fit further–Octavian Smith.

“They have a freshman right now that’s another version of me. He plays the slot, outside receiver and sometimes tailback. They see me playing that position.”

Paylor released a top ten in November with Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Tennessee making the cut and could trim further heading into the spring. Paylor was slated to visit Maryland for the Nebraska game, but couldn’t make it due to a track meet. With the dead period in effect, he’ll look to visit Maryland, Clemson, North Carolina and South Carolina in the spring before he takes all five official visits in the summer. Paylor said he knows of two schools who will get officials.

“Alabama and Georgia.”

Paylor is rated a four-star prospect and a 90 overall by On3. He’s also rated the sixth-best prospect in North Carolina and the nation’s 39th-best wide receiver.

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