It’s not uncommon for Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins to walk around the Upstate of South Carolina and not get noticed. After all, he is one of the more heralded stars from the Tigers’ national championship team.
However, the 6-foot-4, 310-pound rising junior was not really expecting that to happen when he went to Colorado last week on spring break.
While visiting Boulder with some friends, Wilkins was recognized here and there by a few sports fans, mostly because of his post-game celebration after Clemson knocked off Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
“That’s usually what people recognize me for,” Wilkins said earlier this week.
In Clemson, the fans recognize him more for his 13 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 20 quarterback pressures and his 10 deflected passes at the line of scrimmage. Those are the numbers that made Wilkins an All-American and why the Tigers were the first team to take down an Alabama led Nick Saban team in the national title game.
Last year, Wilkins earned all of his honors at defensive end after having a stellar freshman campaign at defensive tackle. Prior to this spring, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney indicated Wilkins was going to move back inside at defensive tackle. However, Wilkins was vague on where the coaches are playing him right now.
“I’m doing whatever the coaches ask,” he said. “If they want me to go inside, I will go inside obviously. If they want me to go outside, I will play outside. I feel comfortable doing both. I have a year of experience at each so I’m good to go wherever they need me.”
Wilkins did not elaborate on what percentage of the snaps he is playing at defensive tackle and what percentage he is working at defensive end.
“If the coaches ask me to go one way, I go one way,” he said. “If they don’t, then I don’t.”
Either way, Clemson is going to be fine and either way Wilkins is going to be recognized.
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