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Clemson defensive end will return for the 2022 season

Xavier Thomas announced on Twitter Saturday night that he will put off NFL Draft preparation for one more season,
Credit: AP
Georgia Tech quarterback Jordan Yates (13) is hit by Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas (3) after releasing a pass in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas will make a few more trips down the hill.

The Florence native who played at Wilson High School before finishing up at IMG Academy in Florida will be a fifth year player who is taking advantage of the COVID year as allowed by the NCAA.

"In 2021, it looked to everyone as if I was playing my best ball," Thomas tweeted Saturday night. 

"To me, knowing what I am capable of and my ability, that wasn't even half of my best. It is truly a blessing to have an opportunity for the 2022 NFL Draft. However, I am very aware of my potential, and there is a LOT more work to do. Patience is a virtue, and I refuse to sell myself short. Let's run it back."

His return means the Tigers return all of its starters on the defensive front and every lineman in the two-deep. This past season, Thomas recorded 27 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 12 games. He was named Third Team All-ACC.