Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas will miss most of the upcoming college football season after contracting COVID-19 in the spring and having health problems ever since.
Thomas was one of the top recruits in the country and a Freshman All-American in 2018, although he did not play as well last year as a sophomore. This year, coach Dabo Swinney says, Thomas will be sidelined for most of the season.
“X has probably had more on him than anybody since March,” Swinney said, via the Greenville News. “He was having a great spring, was super excited about this season and really had a lot of goals about what he wanted to do this summer to really ready himself for a big year. We leave in March for spring break and obviously the whole world gets shut down, facilities get shut down. And then he gets COVID – I have permission to say that – and had to quarantine and all that. We had nowhere to work out. Then he got strep throat just when we were getting ready to go. He’s out again and probably picked up 10 or 12 pounds during whole quarantine thing, which put him in a bad place mentally as well. We get back going with our mandatory stuff and it’s pretty obvious early on that he’s nowhere near where he needs to be to play football. The No. 1 thing is for these guys to be healthy and the last thing we want is for X to go and try to be half of his potential.”
Thomas could enter the 2021 NFL draft, although Swinney seemed to believe he would return to Clemson next season. For now, his health should be the primary concern, and may serve as a reminder to other football players to take the coronavirus seriously.