Florence native Xavier Thomas of IMG Academy in Florida on Sunday attended The Opening tryout in Orlando, Fla., and spoke on his recruiting for the first time in several weeks.
The highly recruited Class of 2018 defensive end told Jeff Sentell of SECCountry that he is 99 percent certain he will go to either South Carolina or Clemson, with Alabama holding the final 1 percent chip. Thomas visited Clemson for a junior day late last month and got the red carpet treatment from the Tigers. He also got the chance to check out the Tigers’ new home for their players.
He has not been to USC since last football season but recently tweeted he will be taking a visit to Columbia soon. Thomas told Sentell the two are basically 50-50 with him at this point.
“I haven’t been to South Carolina for a while, but everyone expects me to go to Clemson because they have the new facilities and they just won a championship. I already knew about the facility. I already expected them to win the championship,” Thomas said. “I’m just looking forward to seeing South Carolina and how they do with this upcoming season. USC has been my dream school, so them telling me I can come there and be the face of the program is big.”
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USC defensive line coach Lance Thompson is recruiting Thomas for the Gamecocks. New defensive line coach Todd Bates has taken over Thomas’ recruiting for Clemson, and the two are developing a relationship.
“I can come there and make an immediate impact as a freshman on a defending national championship team,” Thomas told Sentell. “That’s pretty big.”
Thomas has said he plans to make his decision right before the season or during it, or he might wait until his birthday Dec. 20.