Christian Wilkins couldn’t care less about the preseason All-America honor he received on Tuesday, or any other preseason accolade for that matter.
Wilkins and fellow Clemson starting defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence were named to the Associated Press Preseason All-America team, which was announced on Tuesday. Lawrence was named first-team, while Wilkins was named second-team.
Asked about the preseason selection after Clemson’s final day of fall camp on Tuesday, Wilkins made it clear how it feels about it.
“All that All-American stuff, that’s a bunch of bull crap,” Wilkins said. “We’ve practiced hard, if that’s what they’re going off of. We’ve brought it all summer, practiced as hard as we could, but that’s just a lot of potential right now. That just basically says we had a good sophomore and freshman campaign, now a lot is expected of us. That’s really all it means.
“That’s no better than getting a Mom and Dad All-American. I have no trophy right now in my hands, so that’s just all potential.”
The AP Preseason All-America team was picked by a panel of media from around the country who vote in the AP poll.
Wilkins acknowledges their vote, but that’s about it.
“I mean appreciate the honor, whoever does the voting,” Wilkins said. “That means they at least see something in me, but it doesn’t mean anything because I still have to bring it each and every day, got to work hard, got to motivate this guy, got to do all that, motivate everybody else on the team so they’ll be a leader and just play my best.”
This particular preseason commendation is just one of many for Wilkins, who is a Watch List selection for nine different awards, more than any other ACC player.
Instead of listening to meaningless preseason praise, Wilkins is focused on preparing for the season and embracing his role as a leader of the Tigers.
Wilkins had guys like D.J. Reader, Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson to lean on when he needed some guidance or advice as a freshman, and a senior in Carlos Watkins around last year.
Now, he has fully assumed that leadership role along the defensive line.
“It’s different now because there’s no older guy I could turn to,” Wilkins said. “Now I am the older guy that everyone looks to. Everyone is expected to perform their best. I always hold myself accountable, and now everyone else, too.”
As a sophomore last season, Wilkins was a first-team All-American according to the Football Writers of America and the American Football Coaches Association, a second-team selection by USA Today, Sporting News and Walter Camp, and a third-team selection by the AP.
The Springfield, Mass., native tallied 56 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks from his defensive end position in 2016. He also posted 10 pass deflections, a school record for a defensive lineman.
Have you ordered the 2017 Clemson season preview ‘Best is the Standard’ from the staff that covers Clemson football 365 days a year? Order yours today to make sure you get a copy!