Xavier Legette made school history on a 39-yard reception in the first quarter. But it’s been his performance since that moment that should have NFL Draft evaluators salivating. The South Carolina wide receiver was a late bloomer, but he’s playing like a potential first-round pick.
Xavier Legette Bursts Onto the Scene Like a Randy Orton RKO
Antwane “Juice” Wells was the guy heading into the season. He is a phenomenal post-catch player with that quintessential South Carolina WR build. However, Wells injured his foot during camp, tried playing in September, and things did not progress.
But that turned out to be somewhat of a non-issue because Legette stepped in and produced at a level we haven’t seen often at South Carolina.
In fact, only five Gamecocks wide receivers have eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in a season. Alshon Jeffery, Sidney Rice (who did it twice), Pharoh Cooper, and Sterling Sharp are the only other players to accomplish that feat. Jeffery holds the record with 1,517 yards in 2010. Legette’s six 100-yard games this year are tied for second in school history.
He entered the Gamecocks game against the Commodores averaging 19.5 yards per reception in 2023, and only Malik Nabers (first-rounder), Luther Burden III (future first-rounder), and Ricky Pearsall (Florida’s ball hog and future Sunday player) entered with more receptions.
Lagette Deserves Round 1 Consideration
If Legette is actually the 6’3″, 227 pounds he’s listed as, we’ll be questioning how someone his size can be that explosive. DK Metcalf had a lot more fanfare heading into the draft because of the high-flying Ole Miss offense, but he landed at the back of the second round because of medicals.
That feels like the floor for Legette. According to Reel Analytics, Legette hit 22.3 MPH against Mississippi State this year. That would be faster than any player in the NFL this season and the fastest since Raheem Mostert did it twice in 2020.
Even in what looks to be the deepest WR class in recent memory, Legette stands out. That’s not easy to do when the 2024 class is filled with old-school 6’3″ receivers over 210 pounds.
The SEC Network broadcast just said that Xavier Legette is playing despite "deep ankle bruises."
"I wanna be remembered as a fighter," Legette said
— Jordan Kaye (@jordankaye_23) November 11, 2023
He’s been banged up here and there this season but has remained on the field. He suffered an upper-body injury against Missouri, and he was clearly hobbling after the 39-yard reception that put him over 1,000 yards.
The league is obsessed with speed, and Legette might be one of the fastest in his class. At that size, he is a wonderful height/weight/speed prospect alone, and he even has some kick return chops.
But he’s more than that. He possesses impressive start/stop ability and consistently shows he understands how to attack defensive back leverage. Legette can legitimate separate at his size, and when he does, it’s impossible to keep up with him in a foot race.
Elevating and attacking the football at its highest point is no struggle either. Typically, this kind of ascension is unheard of for a fifth-year player. And we may not have gotten to see it if Wells remained healthy, although his talent suggests he would have carved into Wells’ targets.
There’s no telling where these wide receivers will end up going in April. Around every corner, there is an uber-talented pass catcher with prototypical size. But between production, athleticism, and tape, few stack up against Legette’s résumé.
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