If one is trying to track down Christian Wilkins around any part of Clemson’s sprawling football facilities, the best path is to simply look for the smiles and follow the sound of laughter.
The All-American, all everything, defensive tackle has served as the pied piper of joy in and around the Tigers’ ultra-successful program for most all of his four years on campus. A model of how to live the most fulfilling and well-rounded student-athlete experience, Wilkins has made sure to always take the soulful light that burns bright within and reflect it onto anybody within his daily existence.
“I can’t recall him ever having a bad day, to be honest,” defensive end Austin Bryant said. “I guess he doesn’t have them. It’s just his personality, he always wants to be the life of the party. It’s just really good to have his energy in the room.”
Arguably the most impressive facet of Wilkins’ college career has been his mastery of time management. Apparently not a second in any day is wasted if you consider what he’s done off the field to complement his elite achievements on game days.
Wilkins, who turned 23 just over two weeks ago, became the first Clemson football scholarship player to graduate (with a communications degree) in 2½ years. He added a master’s degree in athletic leadership at last month’s second graduation. He’s a three-time ACC All-Academic selection and two time Academic All-District choice while never posting below a 3.0 GPA.
Those exploits helped him become the first Clemson player to win the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation to the nation’s top scholar-athlete and widely referred to as the “academic Heisman.”
Combine all his school-related activities — Wilkins even spent time this offseason as a substitute teacher at a local middle school — with his considerable football resume and it’s been nothing short of remarkable. And to think, Wilkins could be completing year one of a multimillion-dollar NFL contract had he decided to leave school after last season as so many expected he’d do. He remains projected as a solid first-round pick this spring.