TAMPA – Just after midnight, the Clemson University Tigers defeated the University of Alabama to win the national football championship. The victory means a former Framingham Flyer is now a national champion.
Lineman Christian Wilkins, now a sophomore at Clemson, played at Bowditch Field growing up and also played a year at Framingham High, before a tragic fatal event, sent him back to Western Massachusetts.
The Clemson Tigers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, including a touchdown with 1 second left on the clock, to defeat Alabama 35-31. Both teams finish the season at 14-1.
This is the first national championship for Clemson in 35 years, and it avenges last year’s loss to Alabama in the championship game. The Tigers lost 45-40 in January 2016.
Wilkins grew up in Springfield, but chose to live with his grandfather during middle school and his freshman year of high school.
The SWAT team was looking for Stamps’ stepson, but shot the retired grandfather, 68, while he was lying face down in his own home. The officer said his rifle accidentally discharged killing the grandfather of 12. Wilkins was not in the house when the raid took place.
After the tragic death of his grandfather, Wilkins headed back to Western Massachusetts to live, and eventually attended Suffield Academy in Connecticut.
Four years later in January 2015, Wilkins chose to sign with Clemson University over Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford University, and Boston College.
Last year, the 6-foot, 4-inch 310-pound lineman played in the national championship game as a freshmen.
Now, six years after the tragic events on Fountain Street, Wilkins is a national champion.