Xavier Thomas makes major announcement for Clemson

Xavier Thomas makes major announcement for Clemson

Football

Xavier Thomas makes major announcement for Clemson

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Xavier Thomas has made his decision as to whether to return to Clemson for another season or get started on a professional football career.

And it’s more good news for the Tigers’ defensive line.

Thomas announced Saturday he has opted to use his COVID-19 year and return for a fifth season at Clemson. It’s another major boost heading into the offseason for the Tigers’ defense, which is also getting K.J. Henry back along a defensive line that paced the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense, No. 7 run defense and No. 8 total defense.

With Thomas back in the fold, Clemson is set to return every starter along the defensive front and every linemen in the two-deep, including star defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, who’s recovering from ACL surgery that limited him to four games this season. The unit helped the Tigers finish 10th nationally in sacks (3.23 per game) and 15th in tackles for loss (7.1).

Thomas was as effective as anyone Clemson had at creating havoc in the backfield. After contemplating giving up football following a difficult 2020 season, Thomas returned to the field looking more like his old self this season, finishing with 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 12 games.

While that sack total may have been low compared to others on the Tigers’ defense — fellow end Myles Murphy led the team with seven sacks while linebacker Trenton Simpson wasn’t far behind with six — it matched his career-high. And nobody got more consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks than Thomas, who racked up a whopping 17 quarterback hurries.

A former blue-chip recruit out of IMG Academy, Thomas has 92 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks through his first four seasons with the Tigers. He has a chance to add to those totals as part of what figures to remain one of college football’s top defensive lines in 2022.

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