Christian Wilkins named finalist for two national awards


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Christian Wilkins named finalist for two national awards

Clemson senior defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was named a finalist for two national awards on Monday.

Wilkins is up for the Outland Trophy, which honors the nation's best interior lineman, versus a pair of Alabama teammates in OT Jonah Williams and NG Quinnen Williams.

He is also competing for the Bednarik Award, which is given to the nation's top defender, versus Williams and Kentucky LB Josh Allen.

The awards will be announced on Dec. 6 during ESPN's College Football Awards (7 p.m.) in Atlanta.

Wilkins is a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, the Nagurski Trophy and the Senior CLASS Award.

Wilkins profile: A standout player for the unbeaten Tigers, even as part of a defensive line that features four returning All-Americans. Clemson has held opponents without an offensive touchdown in eight consecutive quarters dating to Nov. 3. Wilkins was an FWAA First-Team All-America selection in 2016. He has 12.0 tackles for loss, second on the team, to go with four sacks and 45 tackles (32 solo) for the season. Clemson was No. 1 nationally in tackles for loss in the first two of Wilkins’ three prior seasons in the middle and was No. 6 last year. His 16.0 stops behind the line have resulted in 85 yards of losses. Wilkins will play in his 55th career game Saturday against South Carolina. Wilkins graduated in 2017 with a degree in communications in only two-and-a-half years.

Quinnen Williams profile: The upstart sophomore leads unbeaten Alabama with 15.0 tackles for loss for minus-62 yards, second in the SEC, and is tied for 10th in the SEC with 6.0 sacks. Like Jonah Williams, he too posted a career game against LSU tallying career highs in tackles (10) and sacks (2.5) and tying a career high in tackles for loss (3.5). Williams clogs the middle and allows those around him to create havoc – Alabama has had at least 10 tackles for loss in five of 11 games and the Crimson Tide’s 37 sacks are tied for No. 6 nationally. Williams’ 55 tackles include 34 solo stops.

Allen profile: Allen cemented his legacy as one of the all-time great linebackers at Kentucky when he broke the school's sack record last saturday. The 6-5 senior has notched 80 tackles, 17.5 TFL, and 13 sacks for minus 84 yards. He also has five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and five quarterback hurries.

Jonah Williams profile: The left tackle for the unbeaten Crimson Tide continues to pace the nation’s No. 5 but arguably most-feared offense. Williams was the Outland Trophy Offensive Player of the Month for September after grading out above 90 percent for the month. He is the leader of the nation’s third-best offense (541.5 total ypg average) that has topped 500 total yards in 10 of 11 games. The junior has started all 40 games in his career and had perhaps his best game against LSU when Alabama averaged 7.6 yards per rush and gained 576 yards against a then-Top-10 defense and allowed only one sack on a season-high 42 pass attempts. The Crimson Tide are third in the nation in scoring at 48.7 points per game and only yield 0.91 sacks per game, tied for ninth nationally.

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