57 tackles, 18 TFL, 10.5 sacks, 3 FF, 2 FR
Today we are going to look at an under the radar prospect that has a chance to elevate his draft position this season. Xavier Thigpen arrived in Hattiesburg from nearby West Jones HS (Laurel, MS) as a lightly recruited two-star defensive end prospect. His only offer was from the Golden Eagles. Thigpen redshirted as a freshman and only appeared in one game as a redshirt freshman. In the 2015 season, he appeared in all 14 games. Thigpen recorded 4.5 sacks and managed to catch a touchdown pass on a fake field goal. He became a full-time starter as a junior, finishing with 20 solo tackles, six sacks, and 12.5 tackles for loss.
2016: Kentucky, LSU, Marshall, Old Dominion, LA-Lafayette (Bowl Game)
DFD COOKBOOK RECIPE
Thigpen shows excellent bend around the edge. He holds up well in the run game. Thigpen primarily plays left defensive end in their four-man front but has lined up all over. He is a high motor player. Thigpen has experience on all four special teams units and has excelled there. He blocked a punt against Kentucky last season.
Xavier Thigpen has the characteristics to be a top-level pass rusher, but he has much work to do. I would love to see the Southern Miss defensive coaches stand him up more this season and let him operate in space. He has some areas of his technique he needs to improve and he needs to dedicate himself more in the weight room. If he puts it all together he could be a Top 100 prospect, if not he is probably looking at the later rounds.
DEEP FRIED DRAFT
Thigpen needs to get stronger. I saw him get locked out far too many times. This is especially pragmatic to me considering how long his arms are. He also needs to use his hands better. His best position at the NFL level will be standing up, but I have no idea if he can play in space.