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Payton Wilson makes his return to NC State official

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NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Since he’s three years removed from high school, Payton Wilson is eligible to enter the 2021 NFL Draft, though he was not expected to take that leap this year. On Friday, he officially announced his return to NC State.

Wilson’s return means that NC State’s starting linebackers all will be back in ‘21, and the depth situation overall on the defense looks as promising as it has been in a while. Depending on what Daniel Joseph decides to do, State could return its top 12 tacklers, and regardless, there’s a lot of promising talent on hand.

Wilson had a breakout 2020 campaign, collecting 108 tackles in 10 games, which was good enough to earn him first-team All-ACC honors. Wilson finished fourth nationally in total tackles, and 13th in tackles per game. He led the NC State defense with 11.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions (both of which came against Duke).

He sat out the bowl game to continue his recovery from a late-season injury, and he’ll spend this offseason replenishing his tackling fuel reserves.