NC State outside linebacker Payton Wilson is the Butkus Award National Linebacker of the Month. In the first half of the season, Wilson has tallied 56 tackles. He has shown exceptional ability to read the game and make crucial stops. Against Notre Dame, Wilson showcased speed that NFL scouts love. Chasing down a Fighting Irish ballcarrier, he reached 23.4 miles per hour. Head coach Dave Doeren described it as the fastest speed recorded in the Wolfpack’s program history.
It was a moment that exemplified Wilson’s exceptional athleticism and commitment to his team’s success. Standing at 6’4″ and weighing 238 pounds, he is not just a force on the field; he’s also a symbol of resilience. Throughout his collegiate career, the linebacker has battled injuries but hasn’t let these setbacks deter him. Instead, he has returned for his sixth year, determined to lead the Wolfpack to glory.
Photo Cred: ACC Sports
A graduate student from Hillsborough, N.C., Wilson has been a tackling machine and a well-rounded defensive presence. Leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in tackles is no small feat, but he has managed to do just that, amassing 4.5 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks. Additionally, he boasts three pass breakups, an interception, four quarterback hurries, and a fumble recovery. Wilson’s versatility and ability to impact every facet of the game have made him an invaluable asset to the Wolfpack’s defense.
Recognizing the linebacker’s exceptional contributions, the prestigious Butkus Award has taken notice. Each month during the regular season, the Butkus Award selects a college linebacker of the month, and Wilson’s name has rightfully entered the conversation. As the season progresses, fans and pundits eagerly await the announcement of semi-finalists on October 30, followed by finalists on November 20.
Photo Cred: NC State
The winner of this coveted award, named in honor of the legendary Dick Butkus, will be revealed on or before December 6. Dick Butkus, whose name graces this esteemed accolade, was a force in college football and a star for the Chicago Bears in the NFL. To be mentioned in the same breath as Butkus is a testament to Wilson’s remarkable talents and the indomitable spirit he brings to the field.
Amid a remarkable season, Wilson’s journey serves as a reminder that greatness is not only measured by statistics but also by the heart. NC State is having a solid season. As the Wolfpack continues their campaign, fans hope that his exceptional efforts will propel them to new heights and perhaps even to the ultimate recognition—the Butkus Award.