There is probably no player that Clemson fans would want to have a huge season more than XT.
Thomas was a 5-star defensive line prospect in the 247Sports Composite, rated 4th overall in the country. He played for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
There were several good players at the defensive end position when Thomas arrived in 2018, but he was able to flash his abilities in limited snaps. His huge sack against Syracuse that season was an iconic moment.
As the team moved into 2019, coordinator Brent Venables began to rely more on a 3-4 scheme, meaning Thomas’s role was more about setting the edge than rushing the quarterback. He bulked up to achieve this goal and to make himself more appealing to the NFL when he was draft eligible.
He performed well that season but lacked the explosiveness he demonstrated in 2018. Then 2020 was a disaster for XT. He became ill with both COVID-19 and strep throat. He only played 119 snaps across seven games.
While his classmate Trevor Lawrence left early for the NFL, Thomas decided to return to boost his draft stock. He played well in 2021 and was named a third-team All-ACC performer, but he returned in 2022 to improve his draft stock further. Once again, he was slowed, this time by injury. He finally returned against Boston College and was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week with two sacks in only six snaps.
Everyone knows the talent is there, but something has always held XT back. He appears to be in the best shape of his life, so it is now or never, at least in college. This is his final Super Senior season, and the Tigers need him to be a difference on the edge.