NC State football’s Payton Wilson wins national award for best defensive player

N.C. State linebacker Payton Wilson added the Chuck Bednarik Award to his collegiate resume Friday.

Wilson became the first player in Wolfpack history to earn the award, which is given to the best defensive player in the nation. He adds it to multiple First Team-All America awards, the Butkus Award and First Team All-ACC honors.

Originally from Hillsborough, North Carolina, Wilson edged Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner and UCLA defensive lineman Laiatu Latu for the honor.

The announcement comes days after he won the Butkus Award for best linebacker in the nation, presented in a surprise ceremony at the N.C. State men’s basketball heritage game.

NC State football linebacker Payton Wilson surprised with Butkus Award presentation

The sixth-year player recorded 138 total tackles, 69 solo, 17.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. He added three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one pick six.

He helped N.C. State finish 9-3 overall and 6-2 in ACC play, earning it a spot in the Pop Tarts Bowl at the end of the month.

Wilson was also a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, which was announced on Monday, which was awarded to Notre Dame’s Xavier Watts.

Notre Dame safety Xavier Watts wins Bronko Nagurski trophy as nation’s top defender