This past week was supposed to provide Clemson’s players an opportunity to take some time off before beginning preparation for the Cotton Bowl. Several Tigers, including Christian Wilkins, stayed on the go.
Clemson’s senior defensive tackle was in Charlotte on Monday for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, before accepting the Campbell Award in New York on Tuesday evening. Wilkins spent the night in New York on Tuesday and then left for Atlanta on Wednesday for the College Football Awards show, which was held Thursday night.
The All-American enjoyed his time on the road as he was honored for his outstanding senior season.
“It’s been great. Whenever I get to travel anywhere, I didn’t grow up doing a lot of traveling and things like that, so whenever I get to travel, especially on someone else’s ticket, eat some good food, it’s always good times,” Wilkins said. “I always enjoy it, just meeting a lot of people, shaking a lot of hands, rubbing elbows with a lot of people who I look to as heroes and a lot of powerful people. It’s been a great experience.”
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Wilkins also enjoyed plenty of good food during his travels up and down the East Coast.
“I just had a nice steak for lunch (Thursday),” Wilkins said. “I’ve been eating three-course meals for lunch. I haven’t really ever done that. A three-course meal lunch is pretty cool. A lot of food and I’ve been getting full, so I’m happy for that.”
But Wilkins has also found time to make sure that he stays in shape. After a quick break following Clemson’s victory against Pitt in the ACC championship game, it was back to the grind, even if he was in unfamiliar cities.
“I can’t stay away from being too physically active too long. I gave myself about a day or two off to recover and just enjoy all that’s going on, but then I’ve been hitting it real hard, doing my pool workouts in the hotel and finding whatever I can do to stay active and stay in good shape,” Wilkins said.
Tigers star running back Travis Etienne, who was also in Atlanta for the College Football Awards show, worked out with Wilkins after being told that he needed to get in the gym.
“I got in the weight room (Wednesday). Christian forced me to,” Etienne said. “It was intense, more intense than I thought. I kind of gave up in the middle of it. He was like, ‘Nah, come on man.’ I just had to keep going and finish it... I don’t know how he does it. He woke up early (Thursday) morning and worked out again. I couldn’t make that one.”
Soon Clemson’s entire team will be back working out as the Tigers return to the practice field next week.
“Just hit the ground running. We have a little more time. We might not be up there practicing as long and things like that, but we have a lot of time to practice and watch film and get down to the little nuances,” Wilkins said. “Do all you can right now so that game day is easy when we finally get there. We have about three weeks or so, a month, to really prepare and hone in on the opponent. But you’ve got to do those things, watch film, so you really know your opponent.”