CAROLINA FOOTBALL: Xavier Legette can be 'productive guy' in SEC
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CAROLINA FOOTBALL: Xavier Legette can be 'productive guy' in SEC

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Xavier Legette

South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette celebrates his touchdown catch against Vanderbilt during second-quarter action in Columbia on Nov. 2, 2019. 

COLUMBIA -- When Xavier Legette got to South Carolina, he was a high school quarterback but knew what awaited him once fall practice started.

Then, he was handed a red offense practice jersey and paired with the receivers.

By the middle of camp, his raw athleticism had him in the Gamecocks’ two-deep at receiver and fielding punts and his role isn’t getting smaller heading into his sophomore season.

“The guy I have been pleased with is Xavier Legette,” Mike Bobo said. “He’s practiced every single day and showed toughness. He’s a raw 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.”

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Legette’s high school senior year stats are impressive — 887 passing yards, 1,826 rushing yards and 33 total touchdowns — showing the Gamecock coaching staff enough athleticism to make the move to receiver as a freshman and showed flashes of what he could be over his career.

As a freshman Legette played in six games, catching nine passes for 80 yards, an average of 8.9 yards per reception, and one touchdown.

But still, Legette thinks he could have done more.

“If I would have made the catches I had the opportunities to make and if I had made plays I feel like it would have been good.”

He was targeted 20 times though, a reception percentage of just 45, and being more consistent when the ball is thrown to him is something he was working on before spring practice was canceled.

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This year he knows without Bryan Edwards there he’ll be relied on more in the receiver room to make plays either outside or in the slot, and he’s not shying away from that responsibility.

When he was on campus, he was spending a lot of time working on his route running — something that’s hard for a high school senior to focus on when he’s playing quarterback — and doing extra work after practice.

“Right now I’m trying to stay consistent. I come and get on the jugs machine just about every night,” Legette said during spring practice. “I’m trying to stay consistent.”

It’s no secret Legette offers something to the Gamecocks’ offense this upcoming season; he’s a raw, athletic receiver who’s getting better by the week as he gets more comfortable at the position and in Bobo’s new offensive scheme.

Paired with senior Shi Smith, the Gamecocks are hoping to develop some sort of vertical threat in this year’s offense, something they struggled with in their 4-8 season.

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Legette’s shown he can be a downfield threat — 35 of his 80 yards receiving came 10 or more yards from the line of scrimmage — and the Gamecocks are hoping to get that out of him or someone on the roster.

“That’s the thing we need around here,” Bobo said. “We need guys that can stretch the field with speed. Hopefully we get that when we get a couple guys in we signed. It’s definitely one of our major focal points in recruiting with finding guys who can run.”

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