In five games, 6th-year grad has 56 tackles to lead Atlantic Coast Conference
*Article submitted by Matthew Butkus
CHICAGO – Capping a very productive month of September, NC State outside linebacker Payton Wilson was recognized as the Butkus Award National Linebacker of the Month.
Through the first five games, Wilson has registered 56 tackles, including a Butkus-like effort tracking down a Notre Dame ballcarrier where he registered a Wolfpack lifetime-best 23.4 miles per hour on the GPS, the fastest head coach Dave Doeren said the program has ever recorded.
The 6-4, 238-pound graduate student from Hillsborough, N.C., has endured major injuries throughout his career but has returned for his sixth year to lead the Wolfpack and all of the Atlantic Coast Conference in tackles, including 4.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks, three pass breakups, an interception, four quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.
Each month during the regular season, the Butkus Award selects a college linebacker of the month. Semi-finalists will be named October 30 with finalists to follow Nov 20. The winner will be named on or before Dec. 6. The Butkus Award is named after the legendary Dick Butkus, who dominated college football and then became a star for the Chicago Bears.
All 2023 Butkus Award winners will be honored at a televised event in Jan. 2024. BTN (the Big Ten Network) aired the event last season, featuring Butkus and numerous noted NFL Alumni. To watch the show online via YouTube, click here.
Instituted in 1985, The Butkus Award® is one of the elite individual honors, originally given each year to one player in college football: the most impactful linebacker in the game. In 2008, The Butkus Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, took stewardship of the award to fully realize the original purpose of honoring athletic achievement and service to the community.
A 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts, and journalists guides the selection process. Past winners of the collegiate award include such greats as Patrick Willis, Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, Devin White, Roquan Smith and many more. The Butkus Award is increasingly focused on recognizing linebackers who consistently play off the ball on their feet in a two-point stance in traditional form.
The Butkus Awards will be unveiling a new trophy design for this year’s recipients. Designed by renowned sculptor George Lundeen, whose works include the Red Grange and Dick Butkus statues outside Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois.
Jack Campbell of Iowa was the 2022 recipient. The 18th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions was also the recipient of the National Football Foundation’s prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, annually awarded to college football’s top scholar-athlete.