Chris Lea, a sports anchor and reporter for WRAL-TV, wrote this.
The names of Luke Kuechly, Von Miller, Dan Morgan, and Brian Bosworth will always be associated with Payton Wilson’s name.
On Wednesday night at the NC State men’s basketball game against Maryland Eastern-Shore, the NC State linebacker received a surprise when he was announced as the recipient of the 2023 Dick Butkus Award. This award has been given to the top collegiate linebacker annually since 1985.
During a media time out at Reynolds Coliseum, Wilson was unexpectedly presented with a trophy in front of the crowd. Head coach Dave Doeren and others joined in to present him with the award.
“I am both honored and humbled,” Wilson stated to the press. “Being a linebacker growing up, I always admired Dick Butkus.”
“Having been aware of the Butkus Award since I was young, it has always been a goal of mine to achieve it. It holds great significance to me,” Wilson expressed.
Wilson, a native of Hillsborough, has a strong history of receiving accolades and recognition. Most recently, he was awarded the ACC Defensive Player of the Year for leading the conference in tackles and tackles for loss. His impressive record of 138 tackles this season surpasses the runner-up by 17 tackles.
This week, Wilson was not chosen as the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski award, which is awarded to the top defensive player in the country.
Wilson’s college career as a linebacker will be remembered, along with the other mentioned individuals who also went on to have careers in the NFL.
The initial recipient of the Butkus Award from NC State is Wilson.