What We Heard From Clemson’s Beaux Collins, Xavier Thomas in Fall Camp

CLEMSON — Beaux Collins is finally healthy. 

After dealing with two different shoulder ailments in 2022, the Clemson receiver enters this fall hungry to have a big third season in the program. 

Collins had an AC joint injury on his right shoulder in fall camp last year and then separated the other shoulder in the Notre Dame game in November. 

“It was a learning experience,” Collins said after Monday’s third practice of fall camp.

Here’s what else Collins had to say:

  • On playing in Garrett Riley’s new offense: “It’s a lot of fun to play in.” He said it’s about playing fast and physical. 
  • Collins said this is the healthiest he’s been since he got to Clemson: “It’s been a couple of years since I felt this great.”
  • He’s really excited for the receiving corps to “show what we have to offer this year” after the position dealt with a lot of injuries the last two seasons. 
  • Collins slimmed down while he was dealing with the shoulder injuries because he couldn’t lift weights, but this summer the nutrition team “got me right.”
  • Collins on sophomore QB Cade Klubnik: “He’s taken that next step for this team. He wants it bad, not just for himself. He wants it for all of us. He’s a hard worker. We’re meshing pretty well.”
  • Entering his third year in the program, Collins said he wants to be “at the top of my game” and while he has his sights set on making the NFL, his goal this year is to be his best self, help the Tigers win and stay healthy. “We’ll see where it goes from there.”
  • Collins said the offense is “balling out there” in practice and bringing a good energy. 
Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas talks with media during a press conference in the Smart Family Media Center at the Allen N Reeves football complex in Clemson SC Monday August 7 2023

Speaking of energy, Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas said he noticed a different vibe around the scoring side of the ball as well, echoing Collins’ sentiments and praising the route concepts their running. 

The sixth-year senior, who said he’s fully healthy, never envisioned himself coming back to Clemson this late in his career and assumed he’d be a three-and-NFL type, but injuries, a battle with depression and other roadblocks have him back in Tiger Town.

“God’s plan is always bigger than ours,” Thomas said.

Here’s what else “XT” talked about during his time with the media on Monday:

  • Going through a difficult 2020, when Thomas had COVID, other illnesses and an on-field injury as well as depression, helped him believe he could overcome the 2022 injury to his foot that he suffered in fall camp. “It didn’t really take me back down to that level.”
  • Thomas got up to 295 in 2020, but he weighed in at 243 pounds last Thursday. “I’ll stay between 245 and 250. This is the lowest I’ve ever been (at Clemson). This is where I feel my best at.”
  • Thomas sees similarities in the young group coming in and the talented defensive front from 2018. 
  • On the excitement of getting back on the field Labor Day night against Duke: “I really didn’t count last year, playing at 50%. In my eyes I haven’t played football in three years. That’s the last time I really got to play football.”
  • On what he wants to be remembered for at Clemson heading into his final season: “I really try to be an inspiration to just never give up on yourself regards to no matter what you go through in life.”

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