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BEAVERTON, Ore. — During a one-on-one, offense vs. defense drill Wednesday at The Opening, Daron Payne drove center Darryl Williams right into what would have been the lap of the quarterback.

It was an impressive moment for the 330-pound Payne (Birmingham, Ala./Shades Valley), the No. 4 defensive tackle in the country on the 247 Sports composite ranking. But it was also a given for one of the most powerfully built players at The Opening.

“I have the power rush down,” he said.

But The Opening has a way of exposing weaknesses, and one thing Payne has figured out in a brief visit thus far to the Nike World Headquarters is that he has work to do to come off the edge of a blocker.

“I really need to work on my speed rush,” he said. “Just working the edge is something I need to do.”

Imagine how scary that would be. Payne, with all his power and strength, being able to make a move to the outside of a blocker … how hard would it be to stop him then?

Even without a speed rush, he’s one of the nation’s most coveted recruits, but Payne is largely considered to be a guy who will eventually pick between the two in-state powers. One might say his recruiting focus is as narrow as his bull-rush, straight-ahead approach.

That said, he revealed Wednesday that a third school has joined the Alabama powers in the mix.

“Right now, I’m just focusing on (Alabama), Auburn and Texas,” he said, adding that while he can “go to ‘Bama and Auburn anytime” to visit, he’s making it a priority to “try to get out to Texas” for an official visit this fall.

He said he grew up an Auburn fan, but has been impressed by what he says is the “hard work and dedication” it takes to make it at Alabama.

As for Texas?

“I just have a relationship with coach (Chris) Rumph,” he said. “It’s built on that.”

Rumph came to Texas from Alabama, where the relationship with Payne was built.

Even when it comes to going around the edges of the state of Alabama, the bull-rushing defensive tackle is straight ahead with his Alabama connections.

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