Bulldog puppy steals show during athlete’s signing day event

Updated: Feb. 5, 2020 at 12:50 PM CST
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PIKE ROAD, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s all in the presentation when you’re about to sign a commitment to your school of choice, and the competition to be the most original can get ‘ruff’.

Some high school athletes trick their audiences by grabbing one university-emblazoned hat before quickly changing to another. Others just come right out and share their choice with little mystery. But for Pike Road High School football player CJ Paymon, there was a brief ‘paws’ after his decision and the revelation brought cheers from the crowd.

Paymon announced his decision to commit to the Sanford University Bulldogs by pulling a bulldog puppy from under the table where he was sitting. The pooch was a hit with the crowd. It was also a surprise to him!

Paymon said it was the first time he’d seen the pet, which was brought in by his sister for the signing. He said he’s thinking about adopting it and naming it something along the lines of “Sam,” short for Samford.

Paycom’s coach, Patrick Browning, said the senior is a true “utility player” as a linebacker, safety, running back, and quarterback for the team. But Browning said Paymon kept his college destination a secret right until the end.

Paymon had several offers, including Auburn and South Alabama. He said the final decision came down to comfort. “It felt like home,” he said, “and I felt like I have an opportunity to get a great education there.” He doesn’t yet know what he’ll pursue a degree in, but he’s set to be a linebacker on the football team.

“CJ is an unbelievable player, but more importantly he’s an unbelievable person," Browning said. "I’m extremely proud of him and can’t wait to see how he develops over the next four years at Samford.”

Pike Road had several other players sign with area teams including Aubrey Grace and Corbin Grant to Alabama State, Elijah Manora and Dewy Terry to Huntingdon, and Bryce Kelly to Troy.

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