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  When Payton Wilson took the field this past week for the first time with his teammates, his raw emotions bubbled to the surface. His latest injury, and the time spent in recovery, has allowed Wilson to reset himself mentally going into the 2022 season. "He's in a really good place mentally right now," Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren said. "From the team standpoint, everybody's pulling for him. He's one of the best players in the country when he's healthy, so it's nice to have him back." One place he's centered his energy is increasing his football intelligence through film study. Wilson started to understand other teams' tendencies in addition to his own, and he worked on understanding his role on a given play call, and where opponents' weak spots are.

But he's not planning on letting that more cerebral approach dampen his high-energy pace for which he's been known on the field. "It's always good to have a guy like him back out there on our field, especially with his type of energy," Ingle said. "Payton brings a different type of fire to our defense." Wilson said he is elated to have the opportunity to play with his teammates again. With 17 returning starters - 10 on defense - N.C. State has high hopes for a program that hasn't won an ACC championship since 1979. Wilson's return - and his continued health - will be a big piece of that puzzle. "I don't really look forward," Wilson said. "I've learned that due to injuries. They happen when they happen, and you can't control them. If you just take it one day at a time and try to do what you're doing that day the best you can. That's all you can do." - Raleigh News Observer

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

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