The Payton brothers stared from across the table at one another. It was the first day high school seniors could sign national letters of intent, and Bryan had just informed his twin brother Jeremy that he was reneging on his verbal commitment to Arizona State and would be signing with Oregon State.
Jeremy’s last-minute sales pitch went for naught, and the brothers parted ways — to the chagrin of ASU coach Dirk Koetter.
“I was very surprised they didn't go to the same school,” Koetter said. “I thought they would both come here or both go to Oregon State. I was surprised they split and went their separate ways.”
The Paytons’ paths will cross again Saturday when Jeremy’s Sun Devils visit Bryan’s Beavers in Corvallis, Ore. It’ll be the first time the brothers play against one another in an organized game. Both are third-year sophomores, though Jeremy is more experienced. He played as a true freshman before suffering a foot injury that earned him a medical redshirt. He saw more time last year, but Bryan never got into a game as a redshirt freshman.
Jeremy has appeared in seven games as a reserve safety and nickel back this season. He’s tallied 16 tackles, recorded a sack and forced a fumble. Bryan, the Beavers’ starter at free safety, ranks sixth on the Beavers’ roster with 27 tackles and has a 52-yard interception return. According to his brother, Bryan changed his mind back on signing day because “he wanted to be his own man.”
This week’s meeting has changed the tenor of the duo’s daily phone conversations this week. “It’s hard because I want us to win and he wants them to win,” Jeremy said. “But we both want each other to do well, so we’re pretty careful. It’s mostly just good luck, good luck and let’s play.”
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY
It should be a soggy day in Corvallis. Soggy, and loud. The forecast for Saturday calls for rain with a high of 63 degrees and a low of 49 degrees. It’s expected to rain all morning, but the showers could dissipate by the fourth quarter.
Not that the field will suddenly dry out. “I’ll just wear some gloves,” said quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who could be forced to throw the ball against the conference’s second-ranked rushing defense. “I can’t say that I’m used to it, but I’m not really worried about it. At least I hope (I don’t have to worry).” Complicating matters for ASU will be the fact that the upgrades to Reser Stadium have turned it into a pretty tough place to play. Recent renovations added nearly 8,000 seats to the stadium, which now seats 42,300 and will continue to grow in the next few years.
Then-No. 3 USC found out just how loud the venue is when it was upset in Corvallis.
“Now it is a big-time college football atmosphere, and their fans are really into it,” Koetter said. “The crowd is really loud there. I think it bothered USC at times. They had four or five false-start penalties due to crowd noise. In Corvallis, they support the Beavers hard.”