Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Thursday that the Tigers will likely redshirt defensive end Xavier Thomas while he completes his recovery from COVID-19 and strep throat.
Yahoo Sports' Nick Bromberg reported Thomas would remain eligible to play four games later in the year if he's cleared for football activities.
"Xavier probably picked up 10-12 pounds during quarantine," Swinney told reporters. "That put him in a bad place mentally as well. He's nowhere near where he needs to be to be able to play football. The No. 1 thing we want is for these guys to be healthy. Last thing we want is for X to be half of his potential."
Thomas, a junior scheduled to graduate in December, recorded 60 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and a forced fumble in 26 appearances across his first two years at Clemson.
"I'm really proud of X," Swinney said. "He has shown a lot of maturity and self-awareness."
Matthew Valdovinos of Pro Football Network ranked Thomas as the ninth-best edge-rusher in early rankings for the 2021 NFL draft. He wasn't listed among the top 25 overall prospects on the initial big board from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller in May.
Clemson was ranked as the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason USA Today Amway Coaches Poll released Thursday. The Tigers received 38 of the 65 first-place votes.
K.J. Henry figures to enter the starting lineup for the duration of Thomas' absence. Myles Murphy and Justin Mascoll are other options for more playing time opposite Justin Foster.