Recruit Xavier Legette ready for big things with Gamecocks football
The Mullins High School star admitted he didn’t have much of a plan if his Gamecocks offer didn’t come through. The staff liked him going through the recruiting process but appeared to be waiting on a few other players. The early signing day passed, and he was still waiting. But he had faith it would come.
Just before that period wrapped, his chance came and he jumped on it. Now he aims to jump on the next chance coming his way.
“I plan to start and I plan to put up some big numbers,” Legette said.
It’s an audacious goal for the 6-foot-3 pass catcher who spent most of his senior season taking snaps and throwing passes. The Gamecocks already have returning starters Bryan Edwards and Shi Smith, and the top option for the last spot is OrTre Smith, who started 10 games as a freshman.
Behind them, the group has pieces, but no one proven. Five scholarship receivers have just more than 300 career yards between them.
Legette’s first task will be adding weight. He played at 190 pounds last season, but is up to 200.
“I’ve been eating more and drinking protein shakes,” Legette said, “trying to get bigger. I’ve been staying in the weight room.”
His high school strength coaches have been helping with that second semester, before he gets handed off to USC’s Jeff Dillman and his charges. Legette said the staff wants him at 220 when it’s all said and done.
Although he came up mostly playing wide receiver and will play it in college, he took a hiatus from catching balls to throwing them his senior season.
His coaches had lobbied for him to move to quarterback his junior season, but he said he “wasn’t feeling it” because he felt other players on the team had talent. But one quarterback graduated and what followed was an impressive season, which he felt helped showcase his talents to recruiters.
“I had the ball in my hands most of the game, so that really brought it out,” Legette said, noting he hadn’t played that spot since rec ball.
Two seasons after catching 44 passes for 733 yards and eight touchdowns, he threw for 887 yards and 14 scores and ran for 1,826, crossing the goal line 19 times. He led his team to a 8-2 record, which included a 7-0 start and a playoff win.
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp already had an eye on Legette after he put up explosive numbers at a USC camp. The strong senior film only added to the staff’s belief Legette could contribute.
“He had NFL combine numbers when he came to our camp,” Muschamp said. “Off the charts. As good as anybody at the combine.”
Part of that quarterback experience could carry over to improving as a wide receiver.
“It helped me with the vision part of it,” Legette said. “Like I could see more of the field. It helps.”
One other thing he hopes to work on is strength and breaking tackles. He saw himself as primarily a deep threat.
Being an athlete at a small school, Legette didn’t limit himself to just football. Winter was for basketball and spring for baseball, the latter of which stood as his second-favorite sport.
“I can play any position,” Legette said. “I’m the leadoff batter. Last year I hit four home runs.”
His love of the sport ties to his family. His older brother, Jim Donovan Reaves, played baseball at Morris College in Sumter. His mother was involved in weekend softball and made that a part of family activities. He played travel ball through age 11.
But now he’ll transition from small-town life to big-time college football. The Gamecocks coaches have high expectations, and with his plans he does as well.
“I’m really happy,” Legette said. “I’ve dreamed of playing college football, and I thank Gamecock nation for giving me the opportunity.”