Former Marshall quarterback Michael Payton will be honored Saturday with the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program.
“It’s very humbling,” Payton told the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail after the announcement in January. “When I got there as a freshman and learned about the tragedy, one of my thoughts was I wanted to see if I could achieve some success and bring that triumph back to Huntington. God blessed me with the right coaches, right teammates and the opportunity to do that.”
A consensus First Team All-American as a senior, Payton led the Herd to a 12-3 record and the 1992 Division I-AA national championship after defeating Youngstown State, which was coached by fellow 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Jim Tressel. In 1991, he was the Walter Payton Award runner-up after leading the nation in passing efficiency (181.3) and taking Marshall to the national championship game.
Payton was twice named Southern Conference Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year. For more than 20 years, Payton held the Division I-AA record for most passing yards in a half, and he currently ranks in the top four in almost every statistical passing category in Marshall history. A two-time first team all-conference selection and a team captain in 1992, he finished his career with 689 completions for 9,411 yards and 69 touchdowns.
Inducted into the Marshall University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999, Payton played for coaches George Chaump and College Football Hall of Famer Jim Donnan and was teammates with Hall of Famer Troy Brown during his career in Huntington, W.Va. He was named West Virginia Athlete of the Year and Man of the Year in 1991 and 1992.
After spending part of 1993 with the Dallas Cowboys, Payton played two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League before finishing his career with the Florida Bobcats of the Arena Football League in 1996. The Harrisburg, Pa., native is active in DARE and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Payton is currently a senior staff counselor at Alternative Rehabilitation Communities in Pennsylvania, and he serves as a personal trainer and life coach.
Above: Michael Payton sits down for an interview with ASN’s Monica McNutt.