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Tigers in the NFL: Weeks 5 and 6

Former+Clemson+defensive+tackle+Christian+Wilkins+led+the+Tigers+to+the+College+Football+Playoffs+for+all+four+years+of+his+tenure%2C+made+three+appearances+in+the+National+Championship+and+helped+win+two+of+them.+Pictured+after+posting+four+tackles+and+one+sack+against+Alabama+in+the+Tigers+44-16+victory+for+the+2018+national+title.
David Perez // Alumnus
Former Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins led the Tigers to the College Football Playoffs for all four years of his tenure, made three appearances in the National Championship and helped win two of them. Pictured after posting four tackles and one sack against Alabama in the Tigers’ 44-16 victory for the 2018 national title.

Former Clemson Tigers have been dominating the NFL in recent weeks. Below are a few updates on some Clemson football alumni who have been in the headlines at the next level:

Travis Etienne Jr., Running back | Jacksonville Jaguars

Etienne finds his way on this list again as he continues to run all over NFL defenses. In the past two weeks, Etienne has been borderline unstoppable and has been a prominent factor in the Jaguars win streak.

Etienne started both Weeks 5 and 6 against AFC-favorite Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville’s divisional rival, the Indianapolis Colts, respectively. He racked up 136 yards and two touchdowns against the Bills, both trips to the end zone coming in the fourth quarter.

Against the Colts, who previously defeated Jacksonville in Week 1, the former Tiger ran for 55 yards and another two touchdowns to lead the team to a 37-20 victory. Between the two matchups, he added seven receptions for 76 yards as well. The Jaguars now sit atop the AFC South due to Etienne and quarterback Trevor Lawrence leading the charge.

Etienne will look to stay hot in Week 7 as the Jaguars take on the Saints on Thursday night football.

DeAndre Hopkins, Wide receiver | Tennessee Titans

Hopkins’ last two performances were a clash of the highs and lows that come with being a wide receiver in the NFL.

In Week 5, Hopkins dominated the stat sheet, reeling in eight catches for 140 yards in a 23-16 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

However, the following week entailed a frustrating performance for the former Clemson receiver as he had just one 20-yard catch in another loss for the Titans as they took on the Ravens across the pond in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as part of the NFL’s International Series.

The four-time Pro Bowler was selected as a first-team All-Pro three years in a row when he played for the Houston Texans; however, since leaving Houston in 2020, he has not found the same success on the Arizona Cardinals or the Tennessee Titans. Titans fans hoped that Hopkins would be the final piece they needed to lead them in a serious playoff run, but after six weeks, Tennessee is last place in the AFC South with a 2-4 record.

Hopkins has yet to score a touchdown for his new team as they head into a much-needed bye week. Tennessee will need Hopkins to return to his caliber as a top receiver in the NFL in the latter half of the season if they want any hope of a playoff run.

Christian Wilkins, Defensive tackle | Miami Dolphins

Former first-round pick and Miami defensive captain Christian Wilkins has been a powerful force in the Dolphins’ 5-1 2023 campaign thus far.

Wilkins recorded 0.5 sacks and four total tackles in Miami’s 31-16 win over the New York Giants in Week 5 and had two sacks the following week in the team’s 42-21 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Wilkins has been an anchor in Miami’s defense for the past five years since he first started as a rookie. The former Tiger has 3.5 sacks on the season, helping Miami sit atop the AFC alongside the Kansas City Chiefs. The Dolphins have a tough road ahead as they travel to Philadelphia in Week 7 to battle the Eagles on Sunday Night Football.

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Brett Porter, Senior Reporter
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