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Xavier Thomas sees opportunity to be part of a special Clemson recruiting class

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Could the South Carolina native end up close to home?

Xavier Thomas
SB Nation Recruiting

ORLANDO, Fla. — Five-star defensive end Xavier Thomas, the nation’s No. 1 prospect at his position for the class of 2018 per the 247Sports Composite, has a big decision ahead of him. From IMG Academy in Bradenton (Fla.), the 6’3, 263-pound prospect, originally from South Carolina, spoke highly of Clemson, S.C., and Alabama at Nike’s The Opening Camp on Sunday.

Thomas said that he has spoken to two fellow recruits about being a part of a special class at Clemson. He said Sunday that he has talked with Zamir White, the nation’s No. 1 running back who is uncommitted, but a Clemson lean. He’s also spoken with Trevor Lawrence, 2017’s No. 1 pro-style quarterback who is verbally committed to the Tigers, about what they could do together.

“We have the opportunity — I talked to Zamir White, and Trevor [Lawrence], of course Trevor’s already committed there,” he said. “Me and Zamir talked how we could have one of the best classes to ever go there, top three players in the country, [could] have a very special class going there.”

Thomas added that him being able to have an immediate impact as a true freshman is also a selling point that Clemson has been making. SB Nation recruiting analyst Bud Elliott believes Clemson stands a great chance to sign the powerful Thomas.

As for South Carolina, Thomas says head coach Will Muschamp is making a hard push for him to become the focal point of the Gamecock program. Thomas is a native of Florence, S.C., who announced his transfer to IMG for his senior season last November.

“Just the fact that I can come there and be the face of the program,” Thomas said of Muschamp’s pitch to him. “Coach Muschamp’s always said I can come there and be the face of the whole program, and not just the defense.”

Thomas also added that growing up, South Carolina was his dream school, and he said that if the program hadn’t undergone the coaching change from Steve Spurrier to Muschamp, he likely would be a Gamecock commit.

“I would have been committed, if all that wouldn’t had happened,” he said. “That was my dream school. But they went down in a ditch and Coach Muschamp’s trying to bring it back up, so I’m looking to see what they’re doing.”

Thomas is also being recruited at Alabama by both Nick Saban and linebackers coach Josh Lupoi. He was on-hand for Bama’s win over Texas A&M last season.

“Well, I’ve been to Alabama before for the Texas A&M game,” he said. “It was special, there, the atmosphere, and just the way Coach Lupoi tells me how 56 [Tim Williams] and 22 [Ryan Anderson] is graduating this year, going to the league this year, so I can come there. And they didn’t sign any player in that position in 2017, so I can come there and have an immediate impact.“

As far as a decision date goes, Thomas says it will either come before or sometime during next seasons. He is also planning to take visits to UNC, South Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Virginia.