Earlier today, Suffield Academy (Conn.) defensive tackle Christian Wilkins gave a verbal commitment to Clemson University, becoming the 15th Massachusetts resident to commit to a Division 1 FBS program for the 2015 recruiting cycle.
— Christian Wilkins (@cwilkins42) January 5, 2015
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Wilkins, a Springfield resident, is a four-star ESPN 300 recruit, currently ranked by ESPNU as the No. 11 defensive tackle in the nation. He chose the Tigers over a deep crop of suitors, most notably Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Stanford and Boston College.
ESPN recruiting analyst Craig Haubert says this is an outstanding pickup for Clemson (for the full breakdown, CLICK HERE - Insider only):
What he brings: Possesses an excellent combination of size, strength and initial quickness. Can be a disruptive presence in the trenches. With get-off can work through contact, create penetration and disrupt plays in the backfield at times. Also capable of being a tough, stout run defender as he demonstrates the ability to fire out low, uncoil at contact and hold ground. Can be a productive interior pass-rusher, with the size and explosiveness to be an effective bull rusher. Can also work past blockers, displaying ability to quickly attack half-man (playing against one side of an O-lineman instead of engaging the full body in order to gain leverage and maintain separation) and be active with his hands. Can be a physical player with a good motor. The ESPN 300 big man was one of the standouts among a very talented group of DLs during the Under Armour All-America week and, despite not playing against a consistently high level of competition in high school, he proved he can handle what could be considered a slightly steeper jump in competition and not only hold his own but at times excel.
How he fits: This is an outstanding pickup for the Tigers. With a need to bring in youth along the DL, Clemson adds one of the top DTs in the country. Wilkins is far from a finished product and needs to continue to develop technically in areas, such as hand usage, but can be an explosive and disruptive player. He has demonstrated the potential to be a prospect that can come in and quickly work his way into the two-deep and signs are there that he could grow into one of the top DTs in the ACC. Clemson has done a nice job of addressing their needs in the defensive trenches, but Wilkins in our eyes is now the most impactful among that group.