Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins likes the fact Syracuse has a 280-pound running back.
Fullback Chris Elmore, who the Orange uses in short-yardage situations, has carried the ball 17 times for 47 yards heading into Friday’s ACC game with second-ranked Clemson. Elmore stands at 6-foot and weighs 280 pounds.
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s a good opportunity,” Wilkins said. “It gets me ideas like I’m 300 pounds, only 10 pounds heavier so maybe we should incorporate bringing me into the offense, carry the ball more. You know I am always in coaches’ ear about that, but anyway…that’s what I think.”
Wilkins has a good argument. Though he has not been utilized this year on offense he has made some big plays for the Tigers over the last two years. He made a splash in the 2016 Orange Bowl when he caught a 31-yard pass, while tight roping the sideline, on a fake punt to spark the Tigers in a win over Oklahoma.
That made him the first defensive lineman in Clemson history to catch a pass.
Last year, he caught a touchdown pass in the Tigers’ win over Troy, while becoming the first defensive lineman in Clemson history to catch a touchdown pass from an offensive formation. Against NC State, a few weeks later, he ran for 10 yards and a first down on a fake punt.
“I’m just saying, you know. I lead the team in percentage catching…ten yards a carry behind (Taylor) Hearn, in my career so…”
Wilkins says it is now time for him to carry the football on offensive as well.
“The coaches have been hating on me a little bit,” he said jokingly. “I’ve been lobbying since my freshman year to get more touches on the offense and be a big part of the offense. But I mean the offense has been fine fortunately. They haven’t needed much of my help but I’m always ready to go if they need me.”
Foster injury update. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said during his press conference on Tuesday that he expects freshman defensive end Justin Foster (ankle) to play this week against Syracuse.
“I think he’s going to be able to go this week,” Swinney said. “He practiced yesterday.”
Swinney stays away from Hill and student ticket controversy. When asked about his thoughts on the situation involving the students not showing up for games and leaving the Hill half empty for the Wake Forest game, Swinney chose not to say too much on the subject.
“Our administration will figure that out,” he said. “I’m not in the weeds on all that stuff.”
Friday will be a special day. This Friday will mark nine years to the day since Swinney was hired as Clemson’s interim head coach by the athletic director Terry Don Phillips.
“I always reflect,” he said. “I love to kind of remember where we came from and then put my eyes on just being great where we are, just plowing ahead. But yeah, that’ll be a neat day, no matter what happens.”