For those thirsty for football, Mike Bobo “revealed” a sliver of South Carolina’s offensive playbook on March 21 when he posted a video to Twitter of a play called “Zac to Buff Rt 1 Buster X Chair Z Corner.”
“That means completion to @XavierLegette,” he wrote.
Though it was Bobo’s three daughters mimicking the progressions and not Gamecock quarterbacks Ryan Hilinski and Collin Hill, it was an insight into how the offensive coordinator reveres Legette, his 6-foot, 210-pound sophomore receiver.
“We’re down a few guys, [but] the guy I have been pleased with is Xavier Legette,” Bobo said earlier this spring before practices were canceled because of COVID-19. “He’s practiced every single day, shown toughness. He’s a broad receiver. He’s learning how to control his body right now, but he has a skill set. I think he can play in this league and be a productive guy.”
With three of the team’s top four pass catchers (Bryan Edwards, Kyle Markway, Rico Dowdle) lost to graduation, an increased workload — and therefore increased production — should be expected from the versatile athlete from Mullins, S.C.
“We think Xavier, as a young player, is very promising and has got a huge upside and is going to be a really good football player for us,” Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp said before this past season’s game against Texas A&M.
“We need Xavier to step up,” he added earlier this spring.
Legette used one word — consistency — five times in a two-and-a-half-minute span when talking with reporters earlier this month.
“I come and get on the jug machine just about every night,” he said.
He also has worked on route running and blocking.
“[Xavier] is developing really good,” cornerback Jaycee Horn said. “He’s a real fast dude. [Receiver coach Bryan McClendon] has his technique way better, so I feel like he’s just going to keep [improving].”
As a true freshman he saw action in 11 games (with starts against Vanderbilt, Appalachian State and Texas A&M) on special teams and at receiver, and caught nine passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. He also returned four kickoff returns for 113 yards, a 28.2-yard average, including a career-long 50-yard return against Texas A&M.
Against Vanderbilt, Legette saw extensive playing time after receivers Shi Smith out and Josh Vann each suffered a broken hand. He had three catches for 34 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown reception to tie the game in the second quarter.
Both Smith and Vann missed the following game, as did tight end Nick Muse, and Legette had five catches for 42 yards. (Bryan Edwards and Chavis Dawkins also missed time during the game.)
“Xavier was key contributor for us,” Muschamp said after the game. “He’s going to be a really good football player.”
“When Bryan got hurt, I felt like it was all on me,” Legette said earlier this spring. “And then when Shi got hurt, I really had to step my feet in the door and progress forward.”
“I feel like I did alright. It could have been a better season, though,” he added. “If I would have made the catches that I had the opportunity to make and I would have made plays, I feel like it would have been good.”
Legette recalled one specific pass he misplayed against Appalachian State that landed in the hands of Mountaineer DB Nicholas Ross, who returned it 18 yards for a touchdown. “That really hurt me,” he said.
He then, again, mentioned the work consistency, and was asked how he could measure consistency during spring practices.
“Not right now. Not right now,” he said with a wide smile. “It’s going to take some time.”