Payton Wilson to skip NC State bowl game vs. Kansas State


NC State linebacker Payton Wilson announced Sunday he has opted out of the Pop-Tarts Bowl to begin preparing for the NFL draft.

In a statement posted on social media, Wilson said: “Playing football at NC State and training and competing with my teammates has been an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Now it’s time for me to start to prepare for the next chapter of my football career.”

Wilson, a sixth-year senior, put in a dominant effort in 2023, leading the ACC and ranking fifth in FBS in tackles with 138. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year also led the league with 17.5 tackles for loss, had six sacks, 10 pass breakups, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and three interceptions.

Wilson’s performance was rewarded; he earned unanimous All-America honors, the Chuck Bednarik Award as the top defensive player in the country and the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Wilson rated as his No. 6 outside linebacker for the 2024 draft.

No. 18 NC State plays No. 25 Kansas State in the Pop-Tarts Bowl on Dec. 28 in Orlando, Florida. The Wolfpack are trying to win 10 games for the second time in school history.

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