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Clemson starting defensive end will redshirt

Florence native Xavier Thomas will play in just four games this season after his offseason which has seen him battle COVID-19 and strep throat
Credit: AP
Clemson's Xavier Thomas during the NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Steve Jacobs)

CLEMSON, S.C. — One of Clemson's starting defensive ends will not be available until later in the season and only for four games.

Following Clemson's first preseason practice of 2020, head coach Dabo Swinney announced starting defensive end Xavier Thomas has been slowed by COVID-19 and strep throat.

As a result, Thomas will spend the majority of the season getting himself physically and mentally ready for what will be a four-game season in this, his junior season.

Swinney says Thomas is an elite talent who is not where he needs to be in order to be that elite talent. So, the Florence native will be given time to prepare and likely play a big role down the stretch of 2020.

A Third-team All-ACC selection as a sophomore, Thomas was credited with 31 tackles (8.0 for loss), 2.0 sacks, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery in 12 games where he played 434 snaps.