Clemson’s Wilkins earns unanimous All-American status

Five Tigers collect first-team All-America honors

Clemson’s Wilkins earns unanimous All-American status
Christian Wilkins flexes after a sack on Duke QB Daniel Jones (Source: TigerNet)

CLEMSON, S.C. — With the announcement of the 2018 American Football Coaches Association All-America Team on Wednesday, all five All-America teams recognized by the NCAA toward consensus status have been formally recognized for the 2018 football season. Five Clemson players earned at least one first-team All-America selection, featuring a unanimous honoree among a school-record three consensus selections this season.

Presently, All-America teams recognized by the NCAA include ones awarded by the Associated Press (AP), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF). To earn consensus status, players must appear on the first team of at least three of the five lists, with unanimous status being reserved for those who appear on all five.

By earning inclusion on all five first teams, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins became only the fifth unanimous All-American in Clemson history. He joins Terry Kinard (1982), Gaines Adams (2006), C.J. Spiller (2009) and Da’Quan Bowers (2010) as the only unanimous All-Americans in school annals.

In addition to Wilkins’ unanimous selection, tackle Mitch Hyatt and defensive end Clelin Ferrell also earned consensus All-America status by each appearing on four of the five lists. Clemson’s three consensus All-America selections in 2018 mark a first in school history, surpassing the previous record of two set during the 1981, 1991 and 2015 seasons.

Clemson’s five first-team All-Americans in 2018 shattered the program’s previous record of three. Clemson had featured three first-team All-Americans in each of the 1981, 1987 and 2017 seasons.

Notes on each’s player’s selection are included below. In addition to the five first-team All-Americans listed below, Clemson also had linebacker Tre Lamar and cornerback Trayvon Mullen selected as second-team AFCA All-Americans.

CHRISTIAN WILKINS - UNANIMOUS FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 1st Team AP – 1st Team FWAA – 1st Team Sporting News – 1st Team WCFF – 1st Team

Graduate defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (Springfield, Mass.) was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation on Dec. 6, then he was named an AP and FWAA First-Team All-American on Dec. 10. He also earned first-team All-America honors by Sporting News on Dec. 11 before earning unanimous All-America status with a selection by the AFCA on Dec. 12.

As noted above, Wilkins is the fifth Clemson player to earn unanimous All-America honors in school history and the first since Da’Quan Bowers in 2010. Three of Clemson’s five all-time unanimous All-Americans have played on the defensive line (Adams in 2006, Bowers in 2010, Wilkins in 2016), and four total have played on defense when expanded to account for Kinard’s selection at safety in 1982.

Wilkins was a first-team All-American in 2016 and 2017 as well, making him a three-time, first-team All-American. He is the fourth player in school history to earn first-team All-America status in three seasons, joining middle guard William Perry (1982-84), LB Anthony Simmons (1995-97) and WR Sammy Watkins (2011-13).

Wilkins' ACFA selection on Wednesday was the third of his career, including selections in 2016 and 2017. He and Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver both earned their third career AFCA All-America selection, making them the second and third players to accomplish the feat all-time, joining former Georgia running back Herschel Walker.

In 2018, Wilkins has 52 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and two rushing touchdowns. In his four-year career, he has 245 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and 54 quarterback pressures in 57 games. He also has 16 pass breakups, most in history by a Tiger defensive lineman.

CLELIN FERRELL - CONSENSUS FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 1st Team AP – 1st Team Sporting News – 1st Team WCFF – 1st Team

Junior defensive end Clelin Ferrell (Richmond, Va.) was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation on Dec. 6, then he was named an AP First-Team All-American on Dec. 10. He also earned first-team All-America honors by Sporting News on Dec. 11 and the AFCA on Dec. 12.

Ferrell’s consensus All-America selection builds upon a standard of excellence that has been set at defensive end for Clemson. Prior to 2018, five of Clemson’s previous eight consensus All-Americans had come from that position group, including consensus qualifications for Gaines Adams (2006), Da’Quan Bowers (2010), Vic Beasley (2013 and 2014) and Shaq Lawson (2015).

With his selection by the AP, Ferrell also became Clemson’s first two-time, first-team AP All-American since Terry Kinard (1981-82) after earning first-team honors in 2017.

Ferrell leads the 2018 team in tackles for loss (17) and sacks (10.5) along with totaling 45 tackles in 13 games. In his three-year career, he has 47.5 tackles for loss, eighth most in Tiger history, and 26 sacks, fifth most in school history.

MITCH HYATT - CONSENSUS FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 1st Team AP – 1st Team FWAA – 1st Team Sporting News – 2nd Team WCFF – 1st Team

Senior offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Ga.) was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation on Dec. 6, then he was named an AP and FWAA First-Team All-American on Dec. 10. He also earned second-team All-America honors by Sporting News on Dec. 11 and first-team honors from the AFCA on Dec. 12.

Including his selection as a Sporting News All-American a year ago, Hyatt becomes a two-time, first-team All-American. Hyatt is the sixth Clemson offensive lineman to become a multi-year All-American, joining Joe Bostic (1977-78), John Phillips (1986-87), Stacy Long (1989-90), Stacy Seegars (92-93) and Kyle Young (2000-01).

Hyatt also becomes the fifth Clemson offensive lineman to earn consensus All-American honors all-time but the first to accomplish the honor since 1993. He joins Harry Olszewski (1967), Long (1990), guard Jeb Flesch (1991) and Seegars (1993) as the only consensus All-America offensive linemen in school history.

Hyatt is a big reason Clemson is averaging 259.8 rushing yards per game and 6.8 yards per carry. The Tigers have also allowed just 14 sacks in 13 games. In his four-year career, he has played 3,624 snaps, most by a Tiger in history.

TRAVIS ETIENNE - FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 2nd Team AP – 2nd Team FWAA – 2nd Team Sporting News – 1st Team WCFF – 2nd Team

Sophomore running back Travis Etienne (Jennings, La.) was named a second-team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation on Dec. 6, then he was named an AP and FWAA Second-Team All-American on Dec. 10. He also earned first-team All-America honors by Sporting News on Dec. 11 and second-team honors from the AFCA on Dec. 12.

With his selection from the Sporting News, Etienne became the first Clemson running back to earn first-team All-America honors from one of the five presenting organizations since C.J. Spiller’s unanimous selection in 2009. Etienne and Spiller account for two of Clemson’s three all-time selections at running back, a list that also includes Terrence Flagler’s first-team honor from the FWAA in 1986.

In 2018, Etienne is among the national leaders in rushing with 1,463 yards and 21 touchdowns on 176 carries along with 10 receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown in 13 games. His 22 total touchdowns are a school record. He is also averaging 112.5 rushing yards per game and a remarkable 8.3 yards per carry. In his two-year career, he has 2,229 rushing yards in 26 games and is averaging 7.9 yards per carry along with totaling 34 rushing touchdowns.

DEXTER LAWRENCE: FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 1st Team

Junior defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (Wake Forest, N.C.) was named a first-team All-American by AFCA on Dec. 12. With Lawrence’s selection joining the previously announced honors for Ferrell and Wilkins, Clemson has now had three defensive linemen earn a first-team selection from one of the five teams for a second straight year, as Ferrell (AP), Wilkins (AFCA) and Austin Bryant (FWAA) all collected first-team honors in 2017.

This season, Lawrence’s interior presence has helped Clemson rank first in the nation in yards allowed per carry (2.40), third in rushing yards allowed per game (92.92) and fourth in yards allowed per game (276.7). He has been credited by the Clemson coaching staff with 44 tackles (7.5 for loss), three pass breakups, 1.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick.