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Former Tennessee Receiver Sign To Play In XFL

JaVonta Payton
Tennessee WR JaVonta Payton. Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Former Tennessee receiver JaVonta Payton signed to play for the Orlando Guardians in the XFL this spring. The Guardians shared the news on their Instagram and Payton shared the post on Twitter Saturday.

Payton spent one season at Tennessee after transferring from Mississippi State. Playing in Josh Heupel’s vertical passing offense, Payton caught 18 passes for 413 yards and six touchdowns in his lone season in Knoxville.

The Nashville native was a big play threat and scored long touchdowns in games against Alabama, Florida and Kentucky. While Payton provided plenty of big plays, he wasn’t a consistent possession threat with a third of his catches on the season being touchdowns.

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Payton had a cup of coffee in the NFL, spending the majority of his time on the Cardinals’ practice squad and never played in a regular season game.

With Orlando, Payton is playing in a high powered, pass first offense that should present plenty of opportunities for Payton to showcase his big play ability. The 6-foot-1 receiver is playing for former Florida State and NFL cornerback Terrell Buckley.

The 2023 rendition of the XFL is the third after failed attempts in 2001 and then again in 2020. The 2020 attempt was particularly short and ineffective in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2023 XFL season kicks off on Feb. 18.

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