Xavier Thomas: You can win championships at Clemson
|Saturday, April 8, 2017, 1:06 PM- -|
Xavier Thomas had been telling the coaches for a few days now that he wanted to be a Clemson Tiger, but he nearly caused head coach Dabo Swinney to choke on his food when he committed Saturday morning.
The nation’s number one over all player according to ESPN surprised everyone when he made his commitment official Saturday morning, but Thomas told TigerNet he has known for a while.
“I have been talking to my family, and I just wanted to go ahead and get this out of the way,” Thomas told TigerNet shortly after making the announcement. “I knew Clemson was where I wanted to be, and I didn't see a reason to put it off any longer. I knew in my heart this is where I wanted to be, and I know it's the right decision.”
The 5-star Bradenton (FL) IMG defensive end said the trip to South Carolina last weekend was just a formality to make sure he was making the right decision.
“I actually knew a few weeks ago. I had been thinking about it a lot, and I thought I knew deep down that Clemson was the place I wanted to be,” Thomas said. “That is why I took those last two trips to South Carolina. I wanted to make sure. So I went back to Columbia, and after the visit last weekend I really knew for sure.”
Contrary to internet speculation, Thomas said there was nothing that happened last weekend at South Carolina’s spring game.
“No, that is just internet gossip,” he said. “Nothing happened at South Carolina that changed my mind. Like I said, I knew a few weeks ago that I wanted to go to Clemson, and I went back to South Carolina just to make sure.”
Thomas made the trip to Clemson with linebacker commit and teammate Mike Jones, Jr. and he said Swinney’s reaction was one he’ll always remember.
“I actually called Coach Swinney and Coach Venables earlier this week to tell them, and they thought I was kidding,” he said. “They didn't believe me. Coach Swinney was eating, and when I told him he actually almost choked and he spit out his food. Coach Swinney and Coach Venables were both happy and told me they were happy I was a Tiger.”
What set Clemson apart from South Carolina?
“Clemson is just a special place. Every time I come here I feel like I am a part of the family,” he said, “I love the campus, and I have a great relationship with the coaches, But the main reason I chose Clemson is because I want to be a part of something special. You can win championships at Clemson, and I want to be a part of that.”
Thomas joins 5-star quarterback commit Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville (GA), 4-star defensive end Justin Mascoll of Snellville (GA), 4-star wideout Derion Kendrick of Rock Hill (SC), 4-star linebacker Mike Jones Jr. of Bradenton (FL) IMG, 3-star linebacker Jake Venables of Central (SC) Daniel and 3-star defensive tackle Josh Belk of Richburg (SC) Lewisville.
He said there are several uncommitted prospects he’ll start recruiting to join him at Clemson.
“I knew that with guys like Trevor Lawrence and Mike already on board, we have a chance to be great,” he said. “This class has a chance to be all-time special, and it's something we all talk about. I am talking to guys like Jackson Carman and others, trying to convince them to come here and be a part of what they are building. Zamir White is here, too. I am talking to him. I am trying to convince all of these guys to come here and be a part of something that is really special.”
Thomas recently ran a 4.58 40 and he compared himself to Clemson’s all time sack leader.
“I like to think I am like Vic Beasley. I am a little big bigger than Vic, but I have that speed off the edge,” he said. “I can stop the run and play tough downs in the trenches, but I can use my speed to get to the quarterback. I like the way Clemson uses their defensive ends, and they all get to the next level.”