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Payton Wilson opts out of bowl game to begin NFL Draft prep

NCAA Football: Clemson at North Carolina State Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Payton Wilson made it official Sunday morning with an announcement that he’ll be skipping the Pop-Tarts Bowl on Thursday as he begins to focus on getting ready for the NFL Draft.

He has absolutely nothing left of prove on the field, and given the injuries he’s been through already—two ACL tears, a serious shoulder injury that cost him most of 2021—he’s making the right decision to play it safe. He gave NC State everything he had on the field throughout his career, and this season in particular.

So as it happens, Payton Wilson’s last time in a Wolfpack uniform was a Senior Night beatdown of the Tar Heels, and as far as career-cappers go, that one’s pretty good. He finished one of the great individual seasons by an NC State defensive player with a resounding rivalry win—a fine way to walk off into the sunset.