Christian Wilkins will be decked out in orange and starting for Clemson on Saturday night when the Tigers face Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Wilkins, who grew up down the road in nearby Springfield, Mass., will be a captain for the game.
The senior’s sole focus Saturday will be on helping Clemson get a win as the Tigers have an opportunity to clinch the ACC Atlantic for the fourth consecutive season.
But as a kid growing up near Boston College, Wilkins dreamed about playing in games like this at Alumni Stadium. He just always imagined he would be on the home sideline.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“I was a big time Boston College fan. A lot of those guys, a lot of those players were my heroes growing up,” Wilkins said this week. “That was my dream school when I was a kid. It was such a big deal when I was a young kid. If you’re from Massachusetts, New England, you know what it means to be able to go to Boston College. That’s really the dream for everybody.”
Wilkins grew up watching former Boston College stars B.J. Raji, Mathias Kiwanuka, Matt Ryan and others and had plans of following in their footsteps if ever given the chance.
“I really wanted the opportunity to play there and everything,” Wilkins said. “Like in recruiting I got really close with them. Obviously things changed as I got older, but that was my dream school as a kid. I know how special it is.”
But as Wilkins referenced, things changed.
He starred at Suffield Academy before being ranked as a five-star recruit for the class of 2015 and was being recruited by almost every program in the country. The opportunity to play at Clemson was ultimately too much to pass up.
“Just I got older and things changed,” Wilkins said. “I just thought differently about recruiting. I grew as a man and knew what I wanted in a school and Clemson obviously was the best option for me.”
Wilkins is excited to play in front of several of his friends and family members that will be in attendance for his homecoming, and he is also excited to once again play football in November in New England weather.
“I want the most New England, Massachusetts, Boston conditions possible. I want it to be negative 40 degrees. I want snow. I want all of that,” Wilkins said. “And I’m playing with no sleeves, nothing warm. I’m just so excited for the opportunity to just go back home. I want it to feel like home when I get back too, like how it should be in mid November. I definitely want all of those conditions for sure.”
While Wilkins is looking forward to playing near his hometown, playing in cold weather and playing in front of family and friends, first and foremost he just wants to get a win as he continues to work towards making his final season in Clemson a special one.
“I’m not a fan at all. I just wanna crush them (now). That’s my mindset. I just wanna win the game,” Wilkins said. “After the game and stuff I’ll look up and enjoy being in the stadium and things like that. But I’ll reminiscence more once the game’s over.”