Swinney says Wilkins will move back to original position
CLEMSON -- Clemson's talented defensive lineman Christian Wilkins was used at defensive tackle last season as Clemson had some attrition on the line with injuries. However, coach Dabo Swinney confirmed during Wednesday's press conference that Wilkins will move back inside to his natural defensive tackle position with Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell back healthy at defensive end.
"He will move back inside," Swinney said about Wilkins. "Obviously, we all know he can play end and anything can happen. I think that was a bonus for us last year is we were able to work him in the spring at end. We were kind of trying to prepare ourselves fo whatever that could happen. And lo and behold you get into camp and there goes Austin Bryant so it was a pretty smooth transition for us because we came out of spring last year knowing Christian could play end. There was no doubt in our mind. We had options. We had a lot of good bodies inside. We was the guy that kind of could give us that flexibility. Obviously, he played very, very well and could stay at end and may end up playing some of both. Where we are personnel wise right now he will definitely start inside. We have Austin [Bryant] and Clelin [Ferrell] and Dex [Lawrence] and Christian. That is where we will start. Pretty good group to roll out there. So we will start there and again he will always be that guy that has the flexibility if we need him because he is not going to lose that experience."
Wilkins has been mentioned by several national media pundits as a potential Heisman Candidate next season with him potentially being used on offense, defense, and special teams.
In 2016, Wilkins had 48 tackles including 13.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, nine pass deflections, and a receiving touchdown.