By: Matson Montilla
On Monday afternoon, it was announced by Clemson defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin that defensive end Xavier Thomas will miss four to six weeks after suffering a foot injury.
“Obviously like anyone else, kind of down a little bit, but he’s at a good, positive state,” Goodwin on how Thomas feels. “...He’s very positive, and really excited to get back to where he was. Unfortunate set back, but he’s at a really good state right now.”
The former five-star recruit was projected to have a big season this year after a career year last season where he had 21 total tackles (6.5 tackles for loss), 4.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. His production also landed him on the all-ACC third team defense.
A few players likely to fill Thomas’ void during this time period are redshirt seniors K.J. Henry and Justin Mascoll.
According to Goodwin, the defense was running a four man rotation of Thomas, Henry, Mascoll, and Myles Murphy at defensive end through practices. With the absence of Thomas, Clemson will now run a three man rotation.
It is expected that Murphy will be one of the two defensive ends who will start for Clemson, but according to Goodwin the competition at the position “will go right up to kickoff to see who runs out first.”
It still remains uncertain of who will get the nod between Henry and Mascoll, but it should come to no surprise if playing time is evenly distributed between the two, at least at the start of the season.
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