The Clemson Tigers are going to be without one of their top players for most of the 2020 football season.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced on Thursday that junior defensive end Xavier Thomas will be redshirting in 2020 after a battle with coronavirus and strep throat. He will still be eligible to play in four games.
“We are holding him out for medical reasons. Really treating him like an injury. X has probably had more on him than anybody since March,” Swinney said. “He’s just nowhere near where he needs to be to play football.”
The former five-star recruit was expected to be a starter for the Tigers in 2020 after a sophomore campaign where he recorded 31 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and was named Third-Team All-ACC.
“We’ve got to get him medically where he needs to be. He had a hard time when he got back with his breathing, COVID, strep throat, being a little heavy,” Swinney said. “He lost from March to now and was not able to do what he needed to do to get himself ready to go.”
Shortly after Swinney announced the unfortunate news, Thomas tweeted out a Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"— Xavier Thomas (@atxlete) August 6, 2020
Jeremiah 29:11 pic.twitter.com/t33W4TtqT3
Earlier in the summer, Clemson reported that 37 football players tested positive for COVID-19 since they had started testing in June. However, their most recent report in late July resulted in zero student-athletes testing positive.
This is going to be one of the biggest concerns for college football in 2020, because no one knows yet what the lasting effects of COVID-19 are. While it doesn’t have much of an effect on some, we see others like Thomas who are having a lot of problems with it, and that’s going to put a lot of fear into the minds of other athletes and their families.
This also comes on the heels of several big-name college football players opting to skip this season and prepare for the NFL Draft, including Purdue receiver Rondale Moore, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, and Miami (FL) defensive end Greg Rousseau.