Swinney says NCAA waiver has effect on Xavier Thomas redshirt plans


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Thomas could play more in 2020 now.
Thomas could play more in 2020 now.

The NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility across college football and that has changed Clemson’s plan for Xavier Thomas.

Thomas, who had suffered setbacks this summer after having COVID-19 and strep throat, was set to redshirt and likely play four or less games in the 2020 season.

Now, the junior, like the rest of the Tigers’ roster, has another year of eligibility to work with and Clemson will take advantage of that from the former 5-star prospect.

“Absolutely, we knew he was going to be ready and he’s actually doing well,” Swinney said after a scrimmage Wednesday. “We knew he would be ready at some point. Worked him back into practice. Our plan was to hold him and play him in the latter part of the season. Now we don’t have to worry about that. He can get back and play whenever he’s ready to go. He can play 5 games, 7 games, 8 games. It doesn’t matter. The objective still has to be served. He still has to be ready. He’s still a work in progress but he’s doing well. He’s responding well to everything and very engaged.

“And there’s a bunch of guys who would have the opportunity to really benefit from the extra year. We’ll see how it shakes out down the road but it definitely will create some challenges (referencing roster management).”

Despite those challenges, Swinney agrees with the NCAA decision in the midst of the pandemic.

"At the end of the day, it was the right decision and I’m super-happy about it for my guys," Swinney said.

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