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South Carolina recruiting notebook: Xavier Thomas rated #1 junior by ESPN

The in-state star’s recruitment will be closely watched over the next few months as he is expected to commit at the end of his junior season.

Student Sports

Xavier Thomas’s recruitment will be one to watch until the very end. With Clemson and South Carolina out in front, and with Florida State and Ohio State making up the other half of his top four, the Wilson (S.C.) defensive end projects to change the face of the program that he ultimately chooses.

Today, ESPN released its ESPN 300 ranking of the top junior players in the country, and Thomas ranks atop the list. That ranking is on top of his #4 ranking at 247Sports (where he is the #1 ranked strongside DE), his #5 ranking at Scout and what should be a top five showing at Rivals when they release their own list soon.

Thomas remains on very good terms with the Gamecocks. Growing up a South Carolina fan that idolized Jadeveon Clowney, he has been in contact with the staff on a very frequent basis. Although he didn’t make it to the cookout last weekend, that was mainly because of work reasons and shouldn’t be seen as a bad sign or anything.

Will Muschamp is making Thomas a clear priority for reasons beyond his expected on-the-field production. Landing a player of his caliber would open the recruiting floodgates and lead several other big-name 2018 recruits to consider joining him in Columbia. The timing of his decision, set for late fall, could also make a big impact on several 2017 prospects being pursued by Muschamp and the staff.

So where will Xavier Thomas end up? That’s sure to be one of the main recruiting storylines headed into the coming months, and one that Gamecocks fans will be following very closely.