STARTING CLEMSON DE XAVIER THOMAS TO RED SHIRT 2020
CLEMSON, SC - During our first virtual post-practice interview of August camp on Thursday evening, Dabo revealed to us that Xavier Thomas will red shirt this fall. As I noted on Wednesday night, he was absent from the big team weigh-in, and now we know the reason why. He contracted the COVID virus, recovered, and then later developed strep throat. For those reasons and to get him where he needs to be physically, they are going to be cautious and red shirt him like they did James Skalski in 2018. Thomas will likely play 4 games at some point later in the the season.
Xavier had what some might call an underwhelming sophomore campaign in 2019 after an impressive 2018 season in which he was named Freshman All-American. He only had 2 sacks in 8 starts and 12 games, although he made third-team All-ACC and was an important part of the nation's top scoring defense.
The loss of Thomas shouldn't hurt the Tigers, who are loaded at defensive end. They still have KJ Henry, Justin Foster and Justin Mascol--all of whom have plenty of experience and talent--as well as sublimely talented freshmen Myles Murphy and Greg Williams. Even former 5-star Bryan Bresee, another true freshman, could move from DT to DE if necessary. He is a versatile athlete similar to Christian Wilkins, who you will recall played both DT and DE for the Tigers at an All-American level. Plus, they will have Thomas back at the end of the season for their potential two games against Notre Dame and both playoff games, just as Skalski did in 2018. The new red shirt rule allows players to play in 4 games while maintaining red shirt status.
Stay tuned right here, and click the link below for our interview with Dabo, practice photos and more!
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