South Carolina Football: Xavier Legette closing in on history

South Carolina football wide receiver Xavier Legette crossing the end zone after his 76-yard touchdown against Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football wide receiver Xavier Legette crossing the end zone after his 76-yard touchdown against Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina football’s poor showing in the win-loss column has clouded a special season from the pass-catching combination of Spencer Rattler and Xavier Leggete.

Rattler has had a very good 2023 season and is rising up the all-time passing leaderboards. He could be in line to be selected in the 1st or 2nd round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

His top target coming into the season was Juice Wells, but the preseason All-American has barely played this season while dealing with a foot injury.

Legette, a virtual afterthought for many South Carolina Gamecocks fans heading into the season, had just over 400 career yards of offense and a career-high of 167 receiving yards.

Since then, Legette has posted 5 100-yard performances, including three that were greater than his previous season high of 167 yards and one 217-yard performance that was good for the 2nd-best single-game performance in program history.

In just seven full games and two injury-shortened ones, Legette has 973 yards receiving and leads all of college football with 13 different catches of at least 30 yards. He is 6th in the country in total receiving yards but blows away the competition with an average of 19.5 yards per catch.

His 973 yards are already more than any receiving season from Gamecock greats like Deebo Samuel, Jermale Kelly, Kenny McKinley, Zola Davis, Troy Williamson, Fred Zeigler, or Juice Wells.

With three regular season games to go, he is three 100-yard performances shy of Alshon Jeffery’s 2010 mark of eight 100-yard games. He is the only Gamecock with three 175-yard games in a career, and he did it all in the same season.

Legette is almost assured of making South Carolina football history this weekend against Vanderbilt. Being just 27 yards short of 1000 yards on the season, he has an excellent chance to become just the 5th player in Gamecock history to eclipse that number in one season, joining Sterling Sharpe, Sidney Rice (who did it twice), Alshon Jeffery, and Pharoh Cooper.

From not even being in the conversation four months ago, Xavier Legette has established himself as one of the best wide receivers to play in garnet and black. His game has a chance to translate very well to the next level, as well.

The Mullins, South Carolina native is a 5th-year player who utilized his “Covid redshirt” in a better way than any other player in America as he went from being a guaranteed undrafted player next spring to a potential 1st or 2nd round selection.

Legette is a physical freak. One of the bigger receivers in the class, measuring 6’3″ and over 225 pounds, he also is one of the fastest players in the country, clocking a faster game speed than any player in all of football (INCLUDING THE NFL!!!!) this season when he ran over 22.3 miles per hour against Mississippi State. Even more impressive? He was carrying the football at the time.

Based on his production so far this season, if Xavier Legette can stay healthy, he will put up the 2nd-best receiving season in the history of South Carolina Gamecocks football. If USC can make it to a bowl game, he might even challenge Alshon Jeffery’s numbers from his brilliant 2010 All-American campaign (88 catches, 1517 yards, 9 touchdowns).

Legette is on pace to shatter the single-season receiving yards per game record at South Carolina and is right behind Jim Mitchell’s record-setting 1970 mark of 20 yards per catch. He likely is too far away from the touchdowns record, but with a strong finish, he could become just 7th Gamecock to ever reach double-digits in receiving touchdowns in a season.

#17’s assault on the record books will continue this Saturday when his South Carolina football team takes on the Vanderbilt Commodores at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be at 12:00 on the SECNetwork and ESPN app.

Related Story. South Carolina Football: Xavier Legette named national player of the week. light