Xavier Thomas’ career at Clemson just has not panned out the way most had envisioned.
After a promising freshman season, most expected Thomas to really break out in 2019. However, a lack of depth up front forced the Tigers into playing with a three-man front for most of the season, something that just doesn’t suit Thomas’ strengths and he didn’t have a great season.
His 2020 season was derailed before it even began after he came down with COVID in the spring and then came down with strep throat soon after. It was a long recovery process and it impacted his ability to train for the season.
Thomas was able to get into seven games last season and was starting to round into form as the season wound down. Heading into the final weeks of the season, he was tied for team-lead in sacks, but then was forced to miss the teams final three games.
The elite-level talent now heads into his senior season as determined as ever and head coach Dabo Swinney is loving the consistency he is now seeing from his veteran defensive end.
“He has been consistent where as he was consistently inconsistent last year, just for all kinds of reasons,” Swinney said. “That’s probably the biggest thing is just his availability. He’s been here every day. That’s all in.”
Many can’t wait to see what this Clemson defensive front will be able to do with the likes of Myles Murphy, Bryan Breese, KJ Henry, and Tyler Davis having another year under their belt. Then having a healthy Thomas in the mix only makes the unit that much stronger.
“I’m excited for him to hopefully finish up strong and really be able to have the type of offseason that he needs to have,” said Swinney. “If he does that, then that’s going to be good news for Clemson and good news for that group. Because that’s another group that’s got a chance to really be pretty special. But X is a key guy, that we’re gonna need.”