Former Clemson football great Christian Wilkins still plays as a kid

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As fans who have followed Christian Wilkins’ career at Clemson can attest, Wilkins is cut from a different cloth.

As well as being a relentless pass thrower and stalwart run blocker, he’s known for his on-field antics, including the occasional leap of his teammates, scoring what he calls “fat boy touchdowns” – capped off with celebratory performances from “the worm” in the end zone – and engaging opponents with a constant barrage of verbal barbs.

He is, after all, the guy who showed up to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with a lump on his chest in the 2019 draft.

Three seasons into his professional career with the Miami Dolphins, Wilkins hasn’t changed at all. In fact, it only bolstered his reputation as a fun-loving free spirit.

Football is ultimately a game and I want to have as much fun as possible when I play the game I love,” Wilkins told the Greenville News earlier this week.

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“Even though it’s work, even though it’s competitive, even though it’s tough, I feel like there’s a certain way to play,” he said, “and there’s a certain level of energy that you have to bring to do it at a high level.

“I try to embody that and represent it on the pitch. I honestly embrace it, because it’s just authentic – it’s the same way I’ve been playing the game since I was a little 8 year old.

Wilkins’ athleticism can only be surpassed by his academic prowess – he’s the first football player in Clemson history to graduate in 2½ years and capped his college career by being named the recipient of the William Campbell Trophy as the nation’s top college-athlete.

Wilkins has also built a solid reputation for his on-court chatter, which makes him a popular candidate for “Mic’d Up” videos.

Again, this is nothing new.

“It’s just me being me,” Wilkins said. “I do my best to make friends and have a good time. I know there are a few other guys who talk and chirp quite a bit, but yeah, I’m right there with them.

“I really think it’s contagious and guys feed off of it. Guys like it because football can be serious and difficult, and I try to bring it a little more fun and a little less serious.

Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (42) and defensive end Austin Bryant (7) join defensive tackle Swag Surfing between games against Georgia Tech during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson on Saturday.

Wilkins, who recently had his fifth-year option picked by the Dolphins, even tweets at his former Clemson teammates around the NFL, including at the end of a one-point win over the Las Vegas Raiders in December. 2020.

He bent the ears of former teammates Hunter Renfrow, Trayvon Mullen and Clelin Ferrell.

“I don’t like to call them ex-teammates because they’ll always be my teammates and my brothers, but yeah, it’s still fun,” said Wilkins, who last month served as the club’s honorary head coach. orange team in the Clemson spring game.

Former Clemson running back Darien Rencher, left, talks to Miami Dolphins NFL player and former Clemson Tiger Christian Wilkins at the ACE Awards (Advocates for Character and Education) at Bob Jones University on May 10, 2022.

Wilkins’ penchant for conversation was evident again Tuesday night when he returned upstate as a guest speaker for the Coaches4Character ACE Awards on the Bob Jones University campus in Greenville.

Wilkins has teamed up with former roommate Darien Rencher to address and inspire 72 “unsung heroes” from Greenville County schools who were selected based on their character, community service, academic endeavors and challenges to overcome.

“When there are hard times or challenges, I turn that pain into gain,” Wilkins said. “Turn this difficult experience into something positive.

“Keep striving to be great, to give back. You guys are really awesome, because to me greatness is simple – if you’re consistent and impact other people’s lives and serve others, you guys are awesome, and that’s what you all did, so I’m truly humbled and honored to be here for you.

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