IRVING, Texas (April 25, 2019) - Clemson University defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, the recipient of the National Football Foundation (NFF)'s 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy as the country's top scholar-athlete, has been selected by the Miami Dolphins with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The three-time All-American and two-time national champion was among 23 prospects in attendance in Nashville, Tennessee.
"The National Football Foundation congratulates 2018 Campbell Trophy recipient Christian Wilkins on being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "And we salute the Miami Dolphins for making the wise decision to draft him. They are getting not just an amazing player on the field, but also a young man with great intelligence, character and personality. Christian will be a tremendous leader for the Dolphins in both the locker room and the community, and we are excited to see the great things he will do in the future."
The Campbell Trophy recipient is selected every fall from an impressive list of 12-14 finalists, who each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. Fidelity Investments is a proud partner of the Campbell Trophy and the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
The Campbell Trophy ranks as one of college football's most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The award, which is prominently displayed at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club, comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.
With his selection, Wilkins becomes the sixth Campbell Trophy recipient to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, joining Alex Mack (California), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Chad Pennington (Marshall), Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia) and Tim Tebow (Florida). Wilkins also becomes the 18th Campbell Trophy recipient overall to be drafted.
- Brad Culpepper (1991, Florida) - Minnesota Vikings, 1992, Round 10, Pick 264
- Robert Zatechka (1994, Nebraska) - New York Giants, 1995, Round 4, Pick 128
- Bobby Hoying (1995, Ohio State) - Philadelphia Eagles, 1996, Round 3, Pick 85
- Danny Wuerffel (1996, Florida) - New Orleans Saints, 1997, Round 4, Pick 99
- Peyton Manning (1997, Tennessee) - Indianapolis Colts, 1998, Round 1, Pick 1
- Matt Stinchcomb (1998, Georgia) - Oakland Raiders, 1999, Round 1, Pick 18
- Chad Pennington (1999, Marshall) - New York Jets, 2000, Round 1, Pick 18
- Kyle Vanden Bosch (2000, Nebraska) - Arizona Cardinals, 2001, Round 2, Pick 34
- Joaquin Gonzalez (2001, Miami [FL]) - Cleveland Browns, 2002, Round 7, Pick 227
- Craig Krenzel (2003, Ohio State) - Chicago Bears, 2004, Round 5, Pick 148
- Brian Leonard (2006, Rutgers) - St. Louis Rams, 2007, Round 2, Pick 52
- Alex Mack (2008, California) - Cleveland Browns, 2009, Round 1, Pick 21
- Tim Tebow (2009, Florida) - Denver Broncos, 2010, Round 1, Pick 25
- Sam Acho (2010, Texas) - Arizona Cardinals, 2011, Round 4, Pick 103
- Barrett Jones (2012, Alabama) - St. Louis Rams, 2013, Round 4, Pick 113
- John Urschel (2013, Penn State) - Baltimore Ravens, 2014, Round 5, Pick 175
- Micah Kiser (2017, Virginia) - Los Angeles Rams, 2018, Round 5, Pick 147
- Christian Wilkins (2018, Clemson) - Miami Dolphins, 2019, Round 1, Pick 13
Wilkins personified the scholar-athlete ideal during his Clemson career, earning both his bachelor's and master's degrees while claiming First Team All-America honors in three seasons and guiding Clemson to two national championships.
After graduating in December 2017 with a 3.33 GPA in communication studies, Wilkins became the first scholarship player in Clemson football history to finish school in two and a half years. The Springfield, Massachusetts, native then graduated in December 2018 with a master's in athletic leadership. In addition to being a four-time All-ACC Academic Team member, Wilkins twice received First Team Academic All-District honors. He was named the ACC's 2018 Jim Tatum Award recipient as the top senior student-athlete among the conference's football players.
A two-year team captain, Wilkins guided Clemson to a perfect 15-0 record and the national title in 2018. He claimed First Team All-America honors for the third consecutive season, and he is now the fifth unanimous First Team All-American in Clemson history after being recognized by all of the NCAA-recognized outlets in 2018. A finalist for the 2018 Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy, he amassed 57 tackles on the season, including 15 tackles for loss, while leading the Tigers to their fourth-consecutive ACC title.
The 2018 First Team All-ACC defensive lineman and Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist also recorded six sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries during his senior year. Wilkins was the runner-up for both the ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year for 2018.
Wilkins led a Clemson unit that finished atop the nation and the ACC in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 13.1 points per game. Clemson's rushing defense also led the ACC, limiting opposing teams to 96.3 yards per game on the ground, which was the fourth best average in the nation. The Tigers ranked second in the ACC and fifth in the nation in total defense, limiting offenses to 285.9 yards per game.
On Oct. 27, Wilkins recorded the first rushing touchdown of his career on a one-yard run against Florida State. He would add another rushing touchdown in the regular season finale against in-state rival South Carolina. Following a 27-7 win at Boston College on Nov. 10, Wilkins was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week after playing a key role as the Tigers secured their fourth straight ACC Atlantic Division title. He posted five tackles in the game, including one for loss, as part of a defensive line that limited Boston College to only nine rushing yards. On Nov. 17, he broke the school record for career starts by a defensive tackle.
A four-year letterman, Wilkins made an immediate impact at Clemson, earning 2015 First Team Freshman All-America honors. A three-time All-ACC selection, he earned first-team honors in 2018 and 2017 while claiming second team laurels in 2016. A finalist for the 2016 Nagurski Trophy, Wilkins was named the 2017 Willis Award recipient as the National Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Columbus (Ohio) Touchdown Club. He earned First Team All-America honors from the AFCA in both 2017 and 2016 and from the FWAA in 2016.
In four seasons, Wilkins guided the Tigers to the 2018 and 2016 College Football Playoff (CFP) national titles, three CFP National Championship game appearances and four consecutive trips to the CFP Semifinals. In addition to winning four consecutive ACC titles, Wilkins helped Clemson finish with No. 2 (2015), No.1 (2016), No. 4 (2017) and No. 1 (2018) rankings.
Making a difference off the field, Wilkins became a certified substitute teacher during the 2018 offseason, indicating that he wanted to provide inspiration and guidance to K-12 students. An avid volunteer, Wilkins has worked with Habitat for Humanity, the Clemson Miracle Fundraiser, Colleges Against Cancer Relay for Life and the "Kicks, Cleats, Kids" initiative. He has also taken part in the Taylor Elementary Visionary Leaders program.
In 2019, the NFF will present The William V. Campbell Trophy® for the 30th time to the nation's top football scholar-athlete. The most prestigious and desirable academic award in college football, the Campbell Trophy® recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be:
The finalists and the winner are all honored at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in December at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City. Each finalist receives an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. During the event, one member of the class is selected as the recipient of the Campbell Trophy® as the best football scholar-athlete in the nation and has his postgraduate scholarship increased to a total of $25,000. The award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy.
The centerpiece to the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program, the Campbell Trophy was first awarded in 1990. It is named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, the former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal.
Launched in 1959 and celebrating its 61st year in 2019, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program became the first initiative in history to award postgraduate scholarships based on a player's combined academic, athletic and community accomplishments, and the program has awarded $11.5 million to 854 top athletes since its inception.