CLEMSON—The Clemson Tigers got some huge news before they could take the field for the annual Orange and White Game Saturday, as Xavier Thomas, the ESPN.com’s No. 1 ranked player in the class of 2018, committed to the Tigers.
Thomas, a five-star defensive end, had offers from more than 22 offers from various schools including Alabama, Florida State, Florida and South Carolina.
Thomas had set a decision date of his birthday, Dec. 20, before deciding to surprise the world with his announcement at the Tigers’ spring game.
Thomas made his announcement on Twitter at 9:54 a.m. saying:
“…Today my recruitment journey has come to an end. After long talks with my parents and family, the December commitment date is no longer. I am currently here at Clemson University surrounded by our Wonderful Family and our new extended family—CLEMSON TIGERS [sic] FOOTBALL Staff, players and Fans! After many longer prayers and indepth [sic] with you Dad about what this one moment truly means to my life. I’m excited and proud to say that I’m absolutely 100% ALL IN!”
Thomas will enroll in January and join the nation’s No.2 overall player, quarterback Trevor Lawrence as early enrollees. The Tigers are also hosting the nation’s No.3 ranked player on campus for the spring game in, five-star running back, Zamir White.
For Thomas the decision to choose the Tigers over instate rival South Carolina boiled down to one thing—the opportunity to win championships.
“I love the campus, and I have a great relationship with the coaches, but the main reason I chose Clemson is because I want to be a part of something special,” Thomas said. “You can win championships at Clemson, and I want to be a part of that.”
The announcement of his commitment to the Tigers may have come as a surprise to many Tiger fans, but it was a week in the making for the Tigers’ head coach Dabo Swinney and defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who Thomas called earlier in the week.
“They didn’t believe me,” Thomas said. “Coach Swinney was eating, and when I told him he actually choked and he spit out his food. Coach Swinney and Coach Venables were both happy and told me they were happy I was a Tiger.”