Continuing our countdown, we are only 34 days away September 2nd. In today's addition of the countdown, we will highlight two former players who wore the number and the player who currently wears number 34.
Jarrett Payton, son of all-time Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, was always an exceptional athlete, but his potential never blossomed until his senior year at Miami. At St. Viator High School in Illinois, Payton was a standout, multi-sport athlete. In addition to playing football, Payton was also a very talented soccer player, earning All-State Honors is sophomore year. Thankfully, he followed his father's footsteps and focused on football. By his senior season of high school, Payton virtually orchestrated St. Viator's offense, playing exceptionally well at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. At the time of his commitment to Miami, Payton was rated the No. 58 overall prospect in the nation by The Sporting News. Although highly gifted, Payton didn't have a natural position. Eventually, Payton made his way to the backfield, but saw the early portion of his collegiate career playing fullback. He finished his freshman year with 262 yards rushing on 53 carries for a 4.9 average, which by all standards was a pretty solid freshman campaign. As a sophomore, though, Payton sat out the season with a redshirt year (not medically related). Payton would eventually return the following year, but after a year removed from football and in a crowded backfield with the likes of Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis, and Frank Gore, Payton's hype and production diminished. In 2003, his senior season, Payton rushed for 985 yards and 7 touchdowns. Still, even after a solid season and a 2004 Orange Bowl MVP Trophy to his name, there wasn't a lot of buzz around Payton. Jarrett Payton, the son of an NFL Hall of Famer, who rushed for over 5 yards a carry, went undrafted. He would sign with the Titans only to be cut a year later. After short stints in the Canadian Football League and Indoor Football League, Jarrett Payton's named is hardly remembered and will forever be overshadowed by his father.
Charles Perry Jr.
Charles Perry Jr., from local Royal Palm Beach High School, is entering his Junior Season with the Hurricanes. Perry never had (and still doesn't) the hype that typically surrounds a lot of other ESPN300 recruits. Perry, considered a 4 Star by ESPN and a 3 Star by Rivals, was declared as one of Palm Beach County's finest for a reason. Perry saw plenty of action as a linebacker and a running back in his senior year, totaling 60 tackles and 850 rushing yards. In his two seasons at Miami, he has seen limited action on special teams and at Outside Linebacker. With his past experience as a running back, Perry seemed like an obvious suitor to the vacant fullback position, but Richt and staff decided to move Mike Smith over instead. With an already dangerously thin group of linebackers, Perry is one injury away from seeing a heavy increase in playtime.