The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced today that Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins has been named a member of this year’s NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class and is a finalist for the 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy. The award annually recognizes an individual as the best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
Wilkins is one of 13 finalists who will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 60th NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. Finalists will travel to New York City for the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 4., when one member of the class will be declared the winner of the award and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
Wilkins becomes the fourth Clemson player all-time to be selected to the NFF Scholar-Athlete Class, joining quarterback Jimmy Bell (1964), quarterback Steve Fuller (1978) and center Kyle Young (2001). Candidates for the award must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
In addition to his prolific on-field accomplishments throughout a career that already includes multiple All-America and All-ACC selections, Wilkins has also excelled academically in his time at Clemson. Last December, he earned his degree in communications, becoming the first scholarship Tiger football player to graduate in two-and-a-half years. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in athletic leadership.
Wilkins has also been a staple in the Clemson community in both professional and volunteer roles. Last offseason, he worked as a substitute teacher in local schools, citing his desire to provide inspiration and guidance to young students. In addition, he has volunteered his time and efforts for service projects such as Habitat for Humanity, the Clemson Miracle Fundraiser, Colleges Against Cancer Relay for Life and the “Kicks, Cleats, Kids” initiative, among others.