Signee 101: Get to know 5-star Clemson DE Xavier Thomas

Xavier Thomas is one-half of a pair of top-3 recruits Clemson pulled in during this recruiting cycle, joining the No. 1 player in the country, quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Thomas is now officially committed and signed his letter of intent on Wednesday.

Thomas originally played at Wilson High School in Florence, S.C., before transferring to the prep powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., after his junior season. He committed to Clemson in April over South Carolina, a school he liked a lot and very well could have ended up going to had Steve Spurrier still been the coach in Columbia. Clemson has done a spectacular job of recruiting and developing defensive linemen, and that record appears primed to keep chugging along with the addition of Thomas.

How Xavier Thomas fits at Clemson

As I mentioned, Clemson’s success with defensive linemen isn’t exactly a secret. Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell are poised to have terrific careers in the NFL, and Austin Bryant has played himself into a similar situation this year. Of course, guys such as Vic Beasley, Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson all came through as well, and Thomas appears to be next in line.

He is freakishly quick and athletic, with a jaw-dropping explosive first step that allows him to blow by offensive linemen. At 263 pounds, there is plenty of room for Thomas to bulk up and add to his frame as he gains more experience under Clemson defensive line coach Todd Bates.

Xavier Thomas: Bio, measurements

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 263 pounds

High school: IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

Accolades: U.S. Army All-American, The Opening finalist

Xavier Thomas: Recruiting rankings

National: No. 3

Position: No. 1

State: No. 1

All rankings are according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

Xavier Thomas: Player breakdown

To understand how talented Thomas is, all you have to do is watch him for a play — maybe two, if it took you a second to comprehend what you just saw. He is so quick that linemen sometimes aren’t even able to get in position to attempt to block him, let alone actually protect the quarterback effectively.

Thomas gets good leverage when he is rushing, which allows him to get under blocks and use his already-impressive strength to beat would-be blockers. He is good at corralling speedy runners in the open field, and as he gains more experience at Clemson, he is only going to get better.

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