USC Recruiting

ESPN ranks Gamecocks’ target Xavier Thomas No. 1 for Class of 2018

Xavier Thomas appears to be USC-Clemson battle

Phil Kornblut breaks down the recruitment of nationally elite Class of 2018 defensive end Xavier Thomas of Florence and IMG Academy.
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Phil Kornblut breaks down the recruitment of nationally elite Class of 2018 defensive end Xavier Thomas of Florence and IMG Academy.

Xavier Thomas has moved to the top of the national recruiting rankings.

The Wilson High School defensive end was named as the No. 1 prospect in the ESPN 300 for Class of 2018, released Thursday.

"Extremely Blessed to be named the Number 1 player in the ESPN 300 and I'm still going to grind like I'm ranked #300," Thomas posted on Twitter.

If the ranking holds true, Thomas would be the first player from South Carolina to be the nation’s top high school football recruit since Jadeveon Clowney in 2011.

Thomas has 22 Division I offers with the top four (in no order) of South Carolina, Clemson, Ohio State and Florida State.

Thomas made several visits to USC and Clemson over the past two years and attended camps at both schools this summer. He said last week that USC and Clemson have great selling points other then getting a chance to play in state.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder said last week USC coach Will Muschamp told him if he goes there that he can help be the face of the program and help turn things around on defense much like Clowney did when he played for the Gamecocks.

As for Clemson, Thomas said the Tigers are "red hot right now" after coming off a trip to the national title game and Dabo Swinney has told him he is their No. 1 recruit for 2018. He also likes defensive end coach Marion Hobby.

Thomas likely will make a college decision in the spring before his senior season.

Other players on the Top 300 list for Class of 2018 are T.L. Hanna’s Stephon Wynn (No. 31), Lewisville’s Josh Belk (No. 121), South Pointe’s Derion Kendrick (No. 128), Fort Dorchester’s Dakereon Joyner (No. 170) and T.L. Hanna’s Kavesz Sherard (No. 244).

Clemson commit Mike Jones Jr. out of IMG Academy in Florida is ranked No. 152.

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