2023 DT Xavier McLeod (6-5 320) of Camden plans to be at USC’s junior day Saturday, weather permitting. The snowfall Friday night and the icy conditions expected on Saturday morning could force a change in plans. But if not, McLeod is ready for an inside look at what Shane Beamer and defensive line coach Jimmy Lindsey have going on with the Gamecocks, who are already in a strong position with him.
“They are very high in my rankings, top one, top two,” McLeod said. “First of all, they are an in-state school and it’s very easy to access, I’m like twenty to thirty-five minutes down the road. It’s a great school, great environment. I came to one of their games and I loved the environment. That’s the type of environment I would love to play for. I can tell Coach Beamer has got something going over there. He’s really building the program around the players, and I think over the next couple of years he’s going to turn the program around and they are going to do great.”
McLeod visited USC for a couple of games this past season. He also worked out for Beamer and Lindsey at camp last summer, so they got a good look at him in action.
“They said I will fit in great,” McLeod said. “Obviously I would be playing defensive tackle. Coach Lindsey has said he really needs me, and I would be a big part of the 2023 class. He’s on me about if I commit, I’m going to start off the class with a bang and I’m going to lead everybody else to committing and be that gateway to everybody else committing.”
McLeod visited Georgia last weekend for their national championship celebration, and the Bulldogs are the other ones at the top of his list right now. Of course, it’s early for McLeod and others could rise to a level of prominence with him.
“The reason I say that is because I haven’t been everywhere,” McLeod said. “Once I get a feel for those schools, then I can really say that they are my top. As I go to these schools and campuses, I look for environment, fans, coaching staff. I’m looking for the littlest things to pick out from the other schools so I can determine how my next three to four years are going to look in college. That’s how I determine who’s going to fit me and who’s going to take care of me as I go throughout my college experience.”
McLeod has not been offered by Clemson, but he talked with defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin earlier in the week.
“We just chopped it up a little bit,” McLeod said. “He was just asking about my family and what I like to do for fun in my free time. Besides that, he said we’re going to stay in contact, talk daily and see where it goes from there. I haven’t heard anything about an offer yet, but it would be a great offer.”
McLeod camped at Clemson last summer and also went to a game there in October. He hopes to get back up there soon and sit down with Dabo Swinney to talk about an offer.
As for a visit next weekend, McLeod said he’s been talking to Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia Tech about coming in. He’ll decide on his visiting plans sometime next week.
Other offers from McLeod include Florida State, Georgia, NC State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Virginia, Auburn, Louisville, Tennessee and North Carolina. He said he will wait until December to make his decision.
According to MaxPreps, in 11 games in 2021 McLeod totaled 51 tackles with 3 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, 21 hurries, 4 pass deflections, 2 caused fumbles and 2 recoveries.