Tiny oral history: Christian Wilkins goes ready, set, splits!

Illustration by Rafa Alvarez

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As Clemson celebrated beating Bama for the 2016 national title, players danced and kissed the CFP trophy. Then defensive lineman Christian Wilkins stole the postgame show with two gymnastics moves that a 315-pound defensive lineman just shouldn't be able to do.

The Tigers star is back to help his team make another playoff run, starting in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (Sat., 4 p.m. ET on ESPN). Here is a two-minute oral history of the moment that has become so synonymous with Wilkins that it's at the top of his official school bio. (To see the actual viral moment, scroll to the bottom of this story.)

DABO SWINNEY, CLEMSON COACH: You ought to see Christian on the basketball court. He's athletic and has legit big-man moves, like a mini Charles Barkley. There's not much he can't do.

ADAM CHOICE, CLEMSON RB: We all decided to celebrate, and he was just so happy -- I didn't know he was so flexible.

ERIC MAC LAIN, 2016 CLEMSON TEAMMATE: He's a guy who knows how to take advantage of the pedestal and the limelight. When he pulled his leg up, then dropped into a split, my jaw hit the floor.

WILKINS: It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, to have some fun. We just won the national championship. I was going to express my excitement.

SWINNEY: I've seen him do the split so many times that I'm kind of numb to it. The first time I ever saw him do a split was when he got here as a freshman, and I was like, "This guy is freaky."

CHOICE: He was just happy and in the moment, celebrating. As a team, we did kind of let him know that, bro, you're a little too big to be doing splits on national TV.

SWINNEY: It's like he's some professional dancer.

BRENT VENABLES, CLEMSON DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: My daughters are gymnasts, and they loved it. They said they couldn't believe he could do that because it's a really hard thing to do.

WILKINS: It wasn't my intention to showcase my athleticism, but that's definitely something I've heard people say since that moment.

MAC LAIN: Before this year's South Carolina-Clemson game, people were going back and forth online talking trash, and somebody said that SC QB Jake Bentley was going to dominate us. And someone responded, "Not if this guy has anything to say about it," and they posted a GIF of the split. It was hilarious.