5-star defensive end and lowcountry native Xavier Thomas announced Saturday morning he’d continue his football career with the Clemson Tigers over the South Carolina Gamecocks, much to the disappointment of Carolina fans everywhere.
The announcement came earlier than expected via this tweet after months of titillation by Thomas on Twitter.
Yes, losing out on the No. 1 recruit in the country who grew up less than two hours from campus is frustrating — I get that. By most reports Thomas is good enough to start day one or at least be in the rotation for any team in the country, so if Thomas sticks with Clemson it won’t take long for fans to see him on a field come 2018.
I’m just as frustrated as the next guy with the Thomas decision, trust me. He hinted for months that he might be the signature signee for Will Muschamp and be the thing that really lifts South Carolina football to the next level.
He’d constantly retweet the Gamecock athletic accounts and actively rooted for the men’s and women’s basketball teams during their NCAA tournament runs. Anyone who would have read too far into these like I did would have been convinced Thomas was headed to Columbia.
A'ja Wilson is a different breed— Xavier Thomas 1️⃣9️⃣ (@atxlete) April 3, 2017
This state is still proud of this team and the season they had. Great season @GamecockMBB— Xavier Thomas 1️⃣9️⃣ (@atxlete) April 2, 2017
George Rogers sizing up 5-star recruit Xavier Thomas as Jamyest Williams looks on before USC spring game. pic.twitter.com/0VbaYeZV5f— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) April 1, 2017
But in the end there’s nothing else South Carolina could have done with Thomas. They made him priority No. 1 and he chose the school up north instead — for now at least. He still has a lot of time to mull his decision over before national signing day, so who knows if he winds up sticking with Clemson anyway?
I know that sounds slightly desperate, but we’ve seen crazier things happen on NSD before. But no matter how frustrated you are, no matter how angry the decision makes you as a fan — and I can’t emphasize this enough — DO NOT TWEET AT THIS RECRUIT.
Some of you jumped the gun and did anyway though. Some of you said some downright nasty things that make me and the rest of us ashamed to be South Carolina fans. These examples below are exactly how not to act towards a young man who’s made a very important decision that in the end had ZERO effect on the outcome of your life.
@atxlete damn I hate that you didn't come to USC. But I wish you the best of luck. In tearing your ACL and having a career ending injury— SC Football (@TDurall) April 8, 2017
@atxlete Problem is these days, kids dont want to build a legacy. They want things handed to them. Go hope on that bandwagon. Never were a Gamecock.— Morgan Brown (@MorganB62333287) April 8, 2017
@atxlete Couldn't expect someone that begs for attention to be anything other than a follower. Couldn't have written a legacy at South Carolina.— Bryce (@BryceMoose) April 8, 2017
@atxlete @ETitusThomas @_mjones24 @jvenables_ @ClemsonFB @CoachVenables @IMGAFootball @BillionBus @Shaq_Lawson90 @VicBeasley3 @Cle_Missile Wait...Clemson pulling strings gettin your dad out of jail early? @NCAA— Tripntate (@tripntate1) April 8, 2017
These tweets are pulled right out of Thomas’ mentions from his commitment tweet, and I wish they were made up. All of these people are disgusting, awful and probably need to be banned to whatever black hole Milo Yiannopoulos was sent to. I can not emphasize this enough — PLEASE don’t do this to Thomas.
More recruits will come and go, and South Carolina will have a shot at someone else in the future. Yes, it’s maddening that for the past two years Clemson has caught every good break imaginable — this one with Thomas’ commitment being the least of them. But in the end, this is a young man who made a decision in his own best interest — not yours.
Try to respect that Gamecock Nation. We’ll get the big one next time.