RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – When North Carolina State star linebacker Payton Wilson went down with an injury early in Saturday’s game at Mississippi State, his replacement, Jaylon Scott, ran onto the field like it was just another play.
“There shouldn’t be any drop-off,” Scott said. “That’s what we talk about — not flinching when you get in the game.”
Scott will have to carry that attitude into every game the rest of the season. Now he will do so as the Wolfpack’s starting weakside linebacker. Wilson’s injury will sideline him for the rest of the season, thrusting Scott into a starting role.
“I know the game because I’ve been here three years,” Scott said. “So the mental aspects of things, I’m not really worried about. I feel like I’m balanced.”
If nothing else, the former Shelby High School star is a winner, having won two state titles with the Golden Lions. Scott was the 30th ranked player in North Carolina his senior year and the 50th best outside linebacker in the nation.
“He’s a very good athlete,” said defensive tackle C.J. Clark. “Jaylon’s a great player and he’s going to bring that intensity and I’m excited to see him play now that he’s got his chance to start. I know he’ll help us a lot.”
And Scott has the experience, as well, having started the Gator Bowl a year ago when Wilson was injured. In that game, he notched a career-high seven tackles.
Now, much more will be asked of the 6-foot-1, 245-pounder. Taking the place of one of the nation’s top players can’t be easy, but Scott seems unfazed by what’s ahead.
“I just play.”