A second knee injury and another year away from competitive sports was enough to convince Ty Linton it was time for a new challenge.
Linton, a 24-year-old sophomore, has decided to leave N.C. State's football program to pursue an aeronautical science degree from Middle Tennessee.
Linton spent four years in minor-league baseball before joining N.C. State in 2014. A walk-on with his college expenses being paid for by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Linton had hoped to contribute last season as a linebacker. He tore the ligaments in his left knee for the second time — he had done so previously playing baseball — in spring practice.
Linton put on some extra weight this offseason and spent the spring at defensive end. After going through spring drills, Linton decided it was time to move on from football.
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"It makes sense for me to concentrate on my career path at this point," Linton wrote in a text message on Tuesday.
Linton said his plans are to become a pilot. He has family ties in the flight industry.
Linton thanked Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren for the opportunity at N.C. State. Doeren had originally recruited Linton out of Charlotte Christian high school in 2010 to go to Wisconsin. Linton chose North Carolina and had planned on playing both baseball and football for the Tar Heels before the Diamondbacks came through with a $1.25 million signing bonus.
"I’m proud of Ty for achieving admission to flight school," Doeren said in a statement released by the school. "He came here to follow his dreams and I have loved being a part of his career. He will be a very successful professional."