Clemson University

Clemson’s Christian Wilkins selected by Miami Dolphins in first round of NFL draft

Christian Wilkins reveals what made Clemson’s defensive line so special

Christian Wilkins reveals what made Clemson’s defensive line so special.
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Christian Wilkins reveals what made Clemson’s defensive line so special.

Christian Wilkins is headed to Miami, where he will be greeted by a familiar face.

The Clemson defensive tackle was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 13 pick in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night. Wilkins’ on-stage celebration nearly knocked over commissioner Roger Goodell.

Wilkins was the second Clemson player off the board, joining defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who was selected No. 4 overall by the Oakland Raiders. Tigers defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was drafted later in the first round with the 17th overall pick by the New York Giants.

Wilkins will be reunited with former Clemson defensive line coach Marion Hobby in Miami. Hobby is the defensive line coach for the Dolphins. He served as the defensive line coach at Clemson from 2011-16.

“It’s everything I imagined. I just can’t wait to be a part of this league and be an ambassador for this league,” Wilkins told ESPN. “This game is so special. I love it so much. It deserves to be played the right way. I’m going to do that in the league. The Dolphins are going to get everything out of me.”

Wilkins won the Campbell Trophy, which is also known as the Academic Heisman, as a senior for the Tigers.

Clemson won the ACC and reached the College Football Playoff in all four seasons Wilkins played for the Tigers. He helped Clemson to two national titles.

Wilkins had 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks as a senior. He was also a permanent team captain and arguably Clemson’s most important leader. He was named a unanimous first-team All-American.

“It’s just feeling great. I’m just ready to tear this league up and become a part of something bigger than myself,” Wilkins said. “Be accountable for everything and just make the Dolphins a better organization.”

In addition to Wilkins, Ferrell and Lawrence, defensive tackle Albert Huggins and defensive end Austin Bryant are expected to be selected later in the draft.