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  Linebacker Payton Wilson, the leading tackler in the ACC a year ago, didn't shy away from the expectations for his team, especially on his side of the ball. With 10 starters back, N.C. State's defense will be more experienced and battle tested than ever. Having played so many snaps and shown flashes last year, Wilson knows the chance is there for them to be one of the best Wolfpack defenses in a long time. "We want to be the best," Wilson said. "I think we can be the best defense in the ACC, if not the nation. Being plagued with injuries is something that hurt us in the past, but it was a blessing because guys who are now juniors were stuck out there as freshmen and now have playing experience."

Wilson was one of those players thrown into the fire as a redshirt freshman in 2019, when the team finished 4-8. He learned that season that "talent isn't enough" to get by. He has since become a student of the game, along with the rest of the veteran guys who had to learn on the fly. Now they know what to do and, most importantly, what needs to be done. Clemson, a divisional foe, has long sat on the throne atop the ACC. The Tigers come to Raleigh on Sept. 25, an early chance to see if the Pack is all talk or ready to take that next step. The Pack will find out if it is contenders or pretenders pretty early on in the season. "Living up to that expectation, it's not pressure," Wilson said. "It's more excitement. We want to be there, we want to knock the big man off the table." - Raleigh News Observer

rSr/2024 OLB Payton WilsonNorth Carolina State
News Source: Raleigh News Observer

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