Clemson Football once again stands on top of the ACC mountain, and the story that has everyone talking was Cade Klubnik’s performance.
Klubnik came into the game in relief of DJ Uiagalelei in the first quarter and ended up being named the MVP of the game.
He was well deserving of the honor, but he wasn’t the only player who stood out.
Perhaps lost in the glare of that storyline is the wonderful performance by cornerback Nate Wiggins.
Wiggins had his best game of the season, scoring a touchdown on an interception and blocking a Tar Heel field goal. He also added two solo tackles and defended several passes.
Wiggins was a player that coaches and teammates predicted would have a breakout season. While he played well at times, he also faced struggles, most notably against Wake Forest.
Considering those challenging moments, it is particularly gratifying to see Wiggins respond and play so well with a clutch performance.
The ACC championship doesn’t award separate MVPs for offense and defense the same way it is done in the national championship. If they did, I think Wiggins would be a lock for the MVP of the defensive side.
Wiggins will be a key piece of the back seven of the Clemson Football defense in 2023
Wiggin’s performance was key for the Tigers on a big night, but it is also huge for the future as the defense transitions towards the next campaign. One of the big stories this offseason will be the expected departures along the defensive line and how the Tigers will fill that void. With several changes expected up front, the back seven will be counted on more heavily.
The defensive backfield was a place Clemson lacked experience coming into 2022. It will likely be seen as a position of strength going into 2023. Wiggins will be a key component in those expectations. If senior Sheridan Jones elects to return for his fifth (COVID) season, he and Wiggins will be one of the most experienced starting cornerback duos in college football. Behind them will be two very talented sophomores in Toriano Pride and Jeadyn Lukus (who also had an interception against UNC).
Wiggins was clutch Saturday, and the Tigers hope his play can continue to lift the Tiger defense.