2018 marks the first time 3 Tigers are named First-Team All-Americans by the AP
Despite posting a 95-15 record over the last eight football seasons. Despite winning two national championships and playing for a third in its history. Despite winning 24 conference championships and playing in 42 bowl games, including 31 since 1985, Clemson has never had more than two First-Team Associated Press All-Americans in a season, until Monday.
On Monday, defensive end Clelin Ferrell, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt became the first three Tigers in Clemson history to be named to the prestigious team in the same year.
Ferrell, who was a first-team selection on the 2017 AP squad, became just the second Clemson football player to ever be named First-Team AP All-American. The only Tiger to do it before Ferrell was former safety Terry Kinard, who earned first-team honors in 1981 and 1982.
Hyatt, by the way, is the first Clemson offensive lineman to be named First-Team AP All-American since Stacey Seegars was a first-team selection in 1993.
This year, Ferrell leads the Tigers in tackles for loss (17) and sacks (10.5) along with totaling 45 tackles in 13 games. In his three-year career, he has 47.5 tackles for loss, eighth most in Tiger history, and 26 sacks, fifth most in school history.
Hyatt is a big reason Clemson is averaging 259.8 rushing yards per game—the best average in 30 years—and 6.8 yards per carry. The Tigers have also allowed just 14 sacks in 13 games. In his four-year career, Hyatt has played 3,624 snaps, most by a Tiger in history.
On a side note, Wilkins’ selection to the AP First Team on Monday also was a first in Clemson history. It allowed the senior defensive tackle to become the first Clemson football player in history to be named a First-Team All-American by at least one of the five All-America teams recognized by the NCAA (AP, AFCA, FWAA, Walter Camp Foundation and Sporting News) in three different seasons.
Wilkins was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association in 2016 and ’17. He was also a first-team selection by the Football Writers Association of America in 2016. He was a first-team selection by the Sporting News in 2017 as well.
In his four-year career, Wilkins has 245 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and 54 quarterback pressures in 57 games. He also has 16 pass breakups, most in history by a Tiger defensive lineman.
So far this season, Wilkins has 52 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and two rushing touchdowns.
Clemson will play Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas on Dec. 29 as part of the College Football Playoff Semifinals.