Clemson defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall is pleased with the progression of one of the more senior players in his position group.
Senior defensive end Xavier Thomas has come along.
“I saw X the other day and I was so excited to see him, just see how his body’s transformed, I just had to go hug him,” Hall said during Clemson’s media outing on Tuesday. “He’s had a great summer. He’s working his tail off…I’m excited to see the focus that we need and I’m excited to see X out there and play.”
Thomas took to Twitter last month to announce that he was back down to 265 pounds.
After dealing with COVID-19 complications and strep throat, Thomas was still able to play in seven contests last season. He recorded 11 tackles, four tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble in just 119 snaps in 2020.
“We definitely missed Xavier last year,” Hall said. “He’s a full go, he looks great. He’s been working out all summer. I saw him last week in the photoshoot. In his uniform, he looked amazing.”
There are no issues with Thomas now, according to Hall. He’s dialed in and focused on where he needs to be.
Brent Venables echoed Hall’s sentiments, even going a step further to say that the elder statesman of the defensive ends room is “probably in the best shape he’s been since he got to Clemson.”
“If we can get that version of Xavier Thomas, it’s going to be awesome,” Hall said.
It’s Thomas’s “money year,” after all.
It sure sounds like Clemson is hoping Thomas can be that explosive edge rusher that the Tigers know he can be. That potential that he’s shown glimpses of since he arrived in Clemson in 2018, can still be harnessed.
Now that he has a clean bill of health, the Tigers, and specifically Hall are just going to let Thomas be Thomas. And that’s with the hope he can show just how special of a player he can be going forward.
“Xavier has always been a special player,” Hall said. “Just allow him to do what he does and he’s going to be great. I’m excited to see him play.”