Xavier Thomas, a 2018 defensive end from Wilson High School on Florence, was among the bevy of recruits at Clemson Saturday night for the South Carolina game.
Thomas, who figures to be right in the middle of a recruiting civil war in the state, made multiple unofficial visits to Clemson and USC this season. And he said the biggest game did not have the biggest impact on him.
"The Clemson-Louisville game stood out the most because of how close the game was and how the fans were," Thomas said.
But Thomas enjoyed Saturday night at Clemson and got another inside look at the program.
"It was a good game, a great environment, rivalry game and stuff,” Thomas said. “I got to go on the field before the game and catch up with the coaches and talk to them. They said that I can come there and make an immediate impact as a freshman as long as I keep working hard. They had a good blitzing scheme which is what Coach Venables is always telling me about, creating one-on-one situations."
Thomas also went to games this season at Alabama, Florida and Georgia and he has no more plans for visits until junior days. His top list is USC, Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State in no order.
Though Clemson got most of his attention Saturday night, Thomas said USC wasn't far off his mind because he got text messages from Will Muschamp and Lance Thompson Saturday night.
"Coach Muschamp is in his first year and he had to rebuild the program," Thomas said. "I kind of expected Clemson to win, so no real edge (from a recruiting standpoint.) Coach Muschamp and Coach Thompson were telling me how they needed me and needed to rebuild."
Thomas said he's thinking about making his decision right before his senior season or during it, or he might way until his birthday of Dec. 20.
This season he finished with 140 tackles and seven sacks.
▪ With the regular season complete, coaches have hit the road once again looking for those players who they hope will keep them winners or make them winners in the future. A new contact period commenced Sunday and will run thriugh Jan. 28 except for the holiday dead period of Dec. 12-Jan. 11. Schools are allowed six in-person, off-campus contacts with a prospect during this period but no more than one per week.
▪ USC commitment defensive back Jamyest Williams of Loganville, Ga., was visited Sunday by USC defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson.
▪ USC commitment offensive lineman Dennis Daley of Georgia Military College got a visit Sunday night from USC offensive line coach Shawn Elliott.
▪ Defensive end Matthew Butler of Garner, N.C. is not holding in home visits until his season is over. However, he is expecting coaches to come to his school this week, and that includes USC. He's expecting Lance Thompson or Travaris Robinson to come in from USC. He's also expecting visits from Tennessee, Texas A&M and Duke. Butler has taken official visits to Penn State, Duke, NC State and Texas A&M. He said Tennessee likely will get his fifth visit though he's still considering South Carolina for that. Georgia, Miami and Maryland are also trying to get into the mix. Butler plans to make his announce soon after his season ends.
▪ USC will be out to visit DB Keisean Nixon of Arizona Western Junior College on Monday. He visited Oregon State over the weekend.
▪ USC Sunday offered 2018 linebacker Zakoby McClain of Valdosta, Ga.
▪ Clemson, of course, hosted a slew of prospects from the state and the region Saturday night. Among the top in-state players in the 2018 class at Clemson Saturday night were Thomas defensive lineman Josh Belk of Lewisville and wide receiver Jordyn Adams of Blythewood.
▪ Safety Ridge Ford, a 2017 prospect from of Fork Union Prep in Virginia and Durham, N.C. visited Clemson Saturday.
▪ DB Javis Diaz of Jireh Prep in North Carolina visited Clemson Saturday. He's class of 2017.
▪ 2018 QB Brayden Hawkins of Dillon visited Virginia Tech Saturday. "
“The crowd was great,” Hawkins said. "The coaches are real good and they told me they are real impressed with me and they are coming down soon to talk to me and Coach Hayes. I have not heard anything else from South Carolina, just was told I have nothing to worry about and they would see me soon."
▪ 2019 defensive back Akele Pauling of Cardinal Newman visited Northwestern Saturday.