It has been a crazy week for Christian Wilkins.
The All-American began the awards circuit this past Monday in Charlotte for the Bronko Nagurski Award banquet where he was a finalist. He then got on a plan to New York for a Tuesday night dinner and ceremony where he was named the recipient of William Campbell Award which goes to the nation’s top scholar athlete.
After making a few appearances in New York on Wednesday, Clemson’s defensive tackle was back on a plane to Atlanta where he had a few media engagements as part of the ESPN Awards Show. On Thursday night he hit the red carpet for the two-hour show as a finalist for the Outland Trophy and the Bednarik Award.
However, Wilkins, who has never shied away from a camera or the spotlight, has enjoyed every minute of this past week.
“It is nice because I feel like I am standing here for my teammates,” Wilkins said on the red carpet at the College Football Hall of Fame Thursday night. “We all put in the hard work together and I am not here without those guys around me. I am honored I am here, but a lot of guys on my team have challenged me each and every day.”
The hardest part during the week for Wilkins was staying in shape. At 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, Wilkins enjoys food and he has had opportunities to eat a lot of good meals.
“I just had a nice steak for lunch,” he said laughing. “I have been eating three-course meals for lunch. I have not ever really done that. Three-course-meal for lunch is pretty cool. It is a lot of food and I have been getting full. I’m happy about that.”
Wilkins said he took a couple of days off after Clemson won the ACC Championship over Pittsburgh last Saturday, but he got back to work on Wednesday because he wanted to make sure he is ready when the second-ranked Tigers begin bowl preparations next Wednesday.
“This gives everybody a chance to recover a little bit and get their bodies right and get their minds right and refocus,” the senior said. “Get away from the game. It is a long and strenuous season and a lot of years we have been in the playoff. So, it is a lot of football we have been playing so this is a good break for everyone.”
Of course, Clemson plays No. 3 Notre Dame in the 83rd Cotton Bowl Classic on Dec. 29 in Arlington, Texas as part of the College Football Playoff semifinals.
“Notre Dame is a good team,” Wilkins said. “They have a lot of talent all over the field on offense, defense and special teams. We are going to have to stay focused during this time off and have to prepare the right way.”
Wilkins said the Tigers plan on hit the ground running next week.
“We have a little bit of time,” he said. “We might not be out there for practice as long and things like that, but we will watch film and prepare and get down all the little nuances. You do all you can right now, so game day is a lot easier when it gets here.
“We got about three weeks or so to really hone in on the opponent. But you have to do those things and watch film so you really feel like you know your opponent.”