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Pheldarius Payne played in each of the first 10 games of the season before an injury kept him out of the final two games. He recorded 19 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. He set career highs in TFLs and sacks and ranked second on the team in sacks. He totaled five tackles, including a game- and career-high 2.0 sacks, in the season opener at Illinois. Payne added one tackle in the wins over Fordham and Buffalo. Payne made one tackle at No. 20 Michigan State. He had four tackles against Northwestern and made a pair of tackles against No. 9 Michigan. Payne had four tackles against Purdue, including a half tackle for loss. He had one tackle against No. 6 Ohio State.

2020 (Junior)
Payne played in every game in his first season at Nebraska, finishing with 21 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and a pair of pass breakups. Payne made his Husker debut at outside linebacker by recording two tackles at No. 5 Ohio State. He added two more tackles at Northwestern. 

Payne totaled a career-high six tackles, including a half tackle for loss, in Nebraska’s win over Penn State. He made three tackles against Illinois and had three more tackles vs. Minnesota with a pass breakup. In Nebraska’s win at Rutgers, Payne totaled five tackles with a career-high 1.5 TFLs, including a six-yard sack.

Before Nebraska (Nansemond River HS/Lackawanna [Penn.] CC)
Payne spent the past two seasons at Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania. He helped Lackawanna advance to the 2019 National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship Game and finish with a No. 2 national ranking, one year after Lackawanna was ranked sixth in 2018 following a perfect season.

Payne helped Lackawanna to a 21-1 record in his two seasons, including a 21-game winning streak. He recorded 30 tackles for the Falcons in 2019, including 12.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. He also had one pass breakup, one fumble recovery and five quarterback hurries. In the junior college national championship game, Payne made seven stops with 2.5 TFLs and one fumble recovery. As a freshman at Lackawanna, Payne recorded 23 tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss, including five sacks.

Regarded as a three-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite junior college rankings, Payne picked Nebraska over offers from North Carolina State, Florida International and Liberty, and he also visited Penn State and Syracuse. He played his high school ball for Nansemond River in Suffolk, Va., where he was an all-district and all-region selection as a senior, when the Warriors advanced to the state semifinals.

Pheldarius is the son of Phelton and Johnnetta Payne, and he was born on July 14, 2000. He is a child, youth and family studies major.