USC coach Shane Beamer scored another impressive in-state recruiting victory Friday night when DT Xzavier McLeod (6-5 324) of Camden announced he has committed to the Gamecocks. McLeod had narrowed his list to USC, Georgia, Michigan and Florida. He also gave LSU, Texas A&M and Alabama serious consideration.
Early in the year it appeared going to USC was a slam dunk for McLeod, but his eyes opened up quite a bit when some other major Power Five programs started calling. He took visits to many of them, such as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, LSU, Texas A&M at Florida State. At one point, he said he was leaning more towards leaving the state.
Beamer and the USC coaches stayed steady in their recruiting approach with McLeod. He visited for a junior day in January that put the Gamecocks in a good position with him. He visited in March for a spring practice. He attended the spring game in April. And he made one final unofficial visit to USC in late July.
“It’s just the way we vibe together,” McLeod said following his announcement on the 247Sports YouTube channel. “Coach Lindsey and Coach Beamer, I thought since day one since they offered me, I thought it was a great program. I think that Coach Beamer is building something big at South Carolina and I feel like I can be an integral part of the program.”
McLeod said he’s also seen how other top prospects in the state, like Markee Anderson and Monteque Rhames, chose the Gamecocks ahead of him and thought it a good idea to follow their lead.
“Those guys staying in state, blue-chip players just like me, and I feel with me staying in state we can build the program together.”
“When I went over there, it’s basically me coming to my actual house. That’s how they make me feel when I come there,” McLeod said earlier this year. “I’m a really important piece to their puzzle for the ’23 class. They said they are really trying to offer one guy and they want that one guy to be me. They are really emphasizing me being the best player.”
McLeod also pointed out following his announcement that he’s been impressed by Lindsey and what he has planned for him on the defensive front.
“Coach Lindsey, I think he’s a great guy and an all-around defensive coach,” McLeod said. “I think he’s going to take care of me for the long term. He told me to trust him and that’s what I’m doing. I put my trust in him and I’ll see where he takes me.”
McLeod said after watching Lindsey coach his defensive line in a spring practice he would be very comfortable with that they do with their defensive front.
“Most of the drills that he does we do in practice, so I’m real familiar with what they are doing,” he said. “I think they are very sound on defense. They fire off fast. They are pretty agile. I think Coach Lindsey is doing a good job with them.”
Last season McLeod recorded 58 total tackles with 6 sacks and 21 quarterback pressures.
McLeod is the 18th commitment for the Gamecocks’ 2023 class, the first for the interior defensive line, the 8th on defense and the 4th from South Carolina.
USC 2023 commitments
- JUDGE COLLIER CB 6-1 190 LEGION COLLEGIATE
- MONTEQUE RHAMES DE 6-6 240 SUMTER
- XZAVIER MCLEOD DT 6-5 324 CAMDEN
- GRAYSON HOWARD LB 6-3 223 JACKSONVILLE
- DONTAVIUS BRASWELL RB 5-11 200 SANDERSVILLE, GA
- TROVON BAUGH OT 6-4 315 ATLANTA
- ISAIAH JATTA OT 6-6 310 SNOW JC, UT
- JATAVIUS SHIVERS OT 6-7 270 VILLA RICA, GA
- OLUWATOSIN BABALATE OT 6-5 296 HYATTSVILLE, MD
- MARKEE ANDERSON OT 6-5 280 DORMAN
- ZABHARI SANDY SAF 6-1 204 WASHINGTON, DC
- JALON KILGORE SAF 6-2 196 EATONTON, GA
- CAMERON UPSHAW SAF 6-3 185 PERRY, FL
- VICARI SWAIN SAF 6-0 175 CARROLLTON, GA
- CONNOR COX TE 6-6 227 JACKSONVILLE
- KAMRON SANDLIN TE 6-4 210 ANNISTON, AL
- KELTON HENDERSON WR 5-11 175 LEHIGH ACRES, FL
- CJ ADAMS WR 6-3 210 MABLETON, GA
Here’s the 247Sports stream of the McLeod announcement: