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September 23, 2021

NC State loses two key defenders to injuries

By Aaron Beard

AP Sports Writer

North Carolina State’s defense has taken a major hit by losing all-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker Payton Wilson and safety Cyrus Fagan to season-ending injuries.

Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren announced their status Monday, two days after both exited the during a loss at Mississippi State. He didn’t specify the exact nature of the injuries.

“Both will recover fully but both will require surgery,” he said. “It’s sad and it’s heartbreaking. … It’s an ugly part of football. The good news is both of them will be fine, post-surgery and recovery, and have a chance to continue their careers.”

Wilson’s loss stands out in particular. The 6-foot-4 redshirt sophomore was named first-team all-ACC by The Associated Press last season with a league-leading 108 tackles despite missing a game.

Wilson was banged up last year with his physical style and missed spring workouts after having surgery on both shoulders. He had started each of the Wolfpack’s first two games, posting three tackles and a sack before exiting against the Bulldogs in the first half of the 24-10 weekend loss with an apparent left shoulder or arm injury.

Wilson’s injury likely means sophomore Jaylon Scott will move into the starting lineup, while Doeren said linebacker Drake Thomas will assume defensive captain duties with fellow linebacker Isaiah Moore.

Fagan is a graduate transfer from Florida State. He had seven tackles in the season-opening win against South Florida and started against Mississippi State. That puts sophomore Jakeen Harris, who started the USF game, atop the depth chart.

N.C. State (1-1) hosts Furman, from the Southern Conference in the Championship Subdivision, on Saturday night.

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