4-star linebacker Payton Wilson from Hillsborough, NC has committed to NC State. He decommitted from UNC-Chapel Hill last week and is the newest member of the Pack’s 2018 class. He picked the Pack over Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, while Ohio State and Clemson were thought to maybe get a visit, but never did.
He is a consensus top-100 player and the 65th overall player in the country according to 247. According to 247’s all time player rankings (they go back to 2000), he is the 9th best player ever to commit to the Pack, right in between AJ Davis and Tramain Hall, and the highest ranked player of the Dave Doeren era, right in front of Johnny Frasier. Getting a guy this good to flip from your rival, while beating out recent national champions is a HUGE deal, probably the biggest recruiting win of the Doeren era, and one of the biggest in Pack history. (He’s also been rumored to be a package deal with Drake Thomas, a 2019 4-star LB from Heritage, same school as Ricky Person, so yeah, this is massive).
He suffered a torn ACL in October which cut his season short. He is planning on enrolling early so that should boost his recovery; however, I still think it would be surprising to see him play next year. If he is fully recovered, he’s too good to keep off the field next year.
While he is a linebacker right now, he could bulk up and move to defensive end, or even switch to the other side of the ball and be a tight end (I don’t this is likely but I’ve heard it suggested).
He is the third State commit this year to be selected for the Army All-American game, along with Alim McNeill and Ricky Person.
State now has the 25th overall class in the country according to 247. This class could get an even bigger boost this weekend when corner Tanner Ingle and o-lineman Jovaughn Gwyn are on their official visits. If the Pack finish with these two, and a couple other players (I think we have five spots left), the class could finish in the top 20.