Payton Wilson to return for 2021 season; NC State gets back defensive leader

Payton Wilson — the centerpiece of NC State’s defense — will return for the 2021 season in Raleigh. Wilson announced his decision on Friday. Despite a desire to eventually play in the NFL, Wilson stated that he has “unfinished business left here at NC State.”

Earlier this week, veteran wide receiver Emeka Emezie also announced his plans to return for the 2021 season.

A coveted recruit in the 2018 class, Wilson flourished in 2020 — as NC State won eight games. During the 2020 season, Wilson led the ACC with 108 tackles — good for third most in the FBS, too. Wilson also recorded 3.5 sacks and two interceptions.

When NC State defeated Georgia Tech in Raleigh, Wilson played with two dislocated shoulders; however, he still managed to collected 11 tackles, including 2.5 for loss.

Going back to the 2000 season: Wilson is just the 12th ACC player to record 100+ tackles, three sacks and two interceptions in the same season. Other players to hit these benchmarks include Isaiah Simmons, Jeremy Cash and Zach Brown.

Wilson, however, missed NC State’s Gator Bowl matchup with Kentucky due to an injury.


Read More on Payton Wilson and NC State Football

QB Bailey Hockman enters the NCAA transfer portal