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Payton Wilson earns 2023 ACC DPOY, KC Concepcion earns ROY awards

Rightful and deserving awards for the both of them

NCAA Football: Clemson at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

In news that should shock absolutely nobody who has paid attention to ACC football in 2023, NC State linebacker Payton Wilson won the conference’s Defensive Player-of-the-Year award on Wednesday and Wolfpack wide receiver K.C. Concepcion won both the Rookie-of-the-Year and Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year awards.

Wilson accounted for 18.5% of the team’s tackles this year, registering an absurd 138 tackles (including 69 solo stops), with 17.5 TFL, 6.0 sacks, 6 pass deflections, 3 interceptions (including returning 1 for a TD), 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumble. He notched double-digit tackles in 9 of 12 games and registered at least 0.5 TFL in every game this year. For his career, Wilson has 402 tackles (5th all-time at NC State), 48.0 TFL (3rd), and 15.0 sacks.

Over his first several years on campus, Wilson displayed the raw physical ability that clearly set him apart from his counterparts; however, he often played without the discipline necessary to be an every-down impact player. That changed in 2023, where Wilson was able to play both under control while still at maximum speed, which resulted in him being an absolute terror for opposing offenses.

In his first year on campus, Concepcion quickly emerged as the Wolfpack’s most lethal offensive weapon. After recording just 60 receiving yards across his first two games in red and white, Concepcion recorded over 700 across the remaining 10 games. On three occasions the freshman eclipsed the century mark, including setting a career-high with 131 yards in the 39-20 beatdown of UNC in the regular season finale. He caught 10 TD passes, with an even 2 in 5 contests, including the aforementioned thumping of the Tar Heels.

Concepcion proved to be the versatile piece needed to allow Robert Anae’s system to take flight. Utilizing the speedy playmaker in multiple positions provided matchup advantages for State’s offense. Utilized for 38 carries as a runner, Concepcion registered 297 yards rushing at a 7.8 yards/carry average. He also completed a 17 yard pass for a TD against Virginia Tech for good measure. Concepcion accumulated over 100 scrimmage yards in five contests this year.