The Clemson Insider gives a scouting report on every player on Clemson’s summer depth chart. We will break down what the player does best, what he needs to work on, how he compares to other former players at his position and where he fits on the Clemson roster.
Player name: Christian Wilkins
Player position: Defensive tackle
Years left of eligibility: 2 years
Current rank on depth chart: First Team
Player productivity so far: Wilkins is one of the nation’s most versatile defensive linemen, having started at defensive end as a sophomore after playing tackle in his first season at Clemson. He has 140 career tackles, 17.5 for loss and 5.5 sacks. He has played in 30 games with 16 starts.
What player does best: Wilkins is very athletic and quick off the ball. He can overpower you with his strength or he can out finesse you with his agility and speed to get around and shed blocks.
What player needs to work on: There is not much to work on. Wilkins himself says he needs to get better with his hands and improve with his technique.
Productivity of former Clemson players at the position (first year and last):
Grady Jarrett, 2012: He played in all 13 games and started 11. He totaled 49 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss. He had two sacks and 10 quarterback pressures.
Grady Jarrett, 2014: He was a third-team All-American after recording 73 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss. He had 1.5 sacks and 12 quarterback pressures.
Carlos Watkins, 2015: He played in 15 games. He totaled 69 tackles, including 8 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He also had 3 deflected passes and returned an interception 15 yards for a touchdown.
Carlos Watkins, 2016: He was a second-team All-American after recording 82 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss. He had 10.5 sacks, the most by a Clemson defensive tackle in school history. He also deflected four passes and had 13 quarterback pressures.
What can you hope for? You hope Wilkins continues to play like he has during his first two seasons as he became one of the most feared defenders in college football. After playing a year at defensive end, you also hope he has not lost his edge at defensive tackle.
What is a realistic expectation? As a backup defensive tackle in 2015, Wilkins had 84 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks. There is no reason to think he can’t repeat or improve upon those numbers as a starter this coming season.
What about the future? This will more than likely be Wilkins last year at Clemson. He is already being projected as the first overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft by some media outlets.