Going from college to pro wasn’t an easy transition for Clemson DT

Going from college to pro wasn’t an easy transition for Clemson DT

Feature

Going from college to pro wasn’t an easy transition for Clemson DT

By

Coaches and players say it all the time.

There is a big adjustment for most high school players to the college game. In most cases, it is the speed of the game. Guys who are the big-men on campus in high school, have a difficult time adjusting to the college game because they have not played against this caliber of an athlete before … bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter.

What is it like when a football player goes from college to the NFL? It is a completely different experience all together.

“In college, you were bigger than guys. You were faster than guys and you were more cerebral. You were able to outthink players,” former Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said recently in an interview with Eric Mac Lain for the ACC Network’s Instagram Live. “Now, it is like you have a ten-year veteran across from you, who has a wife and kids at home, who is a grown man, who has seen way more football than you have seen and it is like you kind of have nothing for him.”

College was easy for Wilkins. At Clemson he became a three-time First-Team All-American, while leading the Tigers to two national championships. He also helped form one of the greatest defensive lines in the history of college football in 2018. That defensive front dominated its opponents on Saturdays in the fall.

However, Wilkins quickly learned playing on Sundays is a different kind of beast. After being drafted No. 13 overall by the Miami Dolphins in last year’s NFL Draft, the former Clemson star started 14 of the 16 games he played in. What he noticed was the guy across from him was a grown man, a season veteran. He was not a snot-nosed freshman or sophomore … the kind Wilkins saw a lot of during his time at Clemson.

“He has seen about everything you are about to throw at him,” Wilkins explained. “It’s like, ‘Alright, I have seen this!’ It is really just that overall experience because guys have so much more experience and football knowledge that it is tougher to just find ways to beat them.

“Guys know, ‘The ball is going here? I just have to get in your way so you can’t get there.’ It is more mental at the next level than ever before. That is what I say the biggest adjustment is.”

Clemson fans now is the time to support the local businesses.

A great gift for any Tiger fan. Just one of many great items available from Clemson Variety & Frame

Latest

11hr

After signing one cornerback as part of the 2021 class in four-star Nathaniel Wiggins, Clemson plans to take at least two corners in the 2022 class, possibly three. In our 

11hr

Last year, Clemson tied with Pitt for the national lead in sacks. The Tigers recorded 46 sacks, while dropping opposing quarterbacks for 307 yards, 27 more yards than any team in the country. Clemson ranked (…)

14hr

COLUMBIA — Andrew Eyster hit a walk-off double for a second day in a row to beat rival Clemson. This time the outfielder did it with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, as No. 16 South Carolina beat (…)

15hr

The Clemson Softball team completed the series sweep over Elon with an 8-0 victory in five innings on Sunday afternoon at McWhorter Stadium. The Tigers held Elon scoreless over the course of all three (…)

19hr

It didn’t take Andrew Mukuba long to make a good impression on his first day of practice at Clemson. The true freshman safety caught the eye of senior safety Nolan Turner when the Tigers opened spring (…)

1d

Clemson dished out its latest scholarship offer on Saturday to one of the nation’s top offensive line prospects in the 2022 class. The Clemson Insider breaks down the Tigers’ latest offer right here: (…)

More The Clemson Insider