Freshman defensive lineman Xzavier McLeod was dismissed from the South Carolina football program on Wednesday.
McLeod didn’t travel to last weekend’s Missouri game after appearing in four of the Gamecocks’ first six games. Head coach Shane Beamer originally called that a coach’s decision.
McLeod’s father, in a Facebook post, suggested Xzavier wanted to redshirt this season, something he couldn’t do if he played in a fifth game, and “refused to go to Missouri.”
On Thursday, Beamer offered some details to his side of things while speaking on his weekly radio show.
“I met with Xzavier yesterday and visited with him and made the decision to dismiss him from the football team,” Beamer said. “That that was what was best for our program. And hate it for him. He’s a good young man from a good family. And it’s not a fun phone call when you call someone’s mom and dad and have to tell them that, like I did yesterday.”
McLeod enrolled at USC in January. He had one tackle and one interception this season.
“I would say that there is an expectation level of what it means to be a football player at the University of South Carolina,” Beamer said. “And I take a lot of pride in all of these young men and care for all the young men in our program. And I don’t take the responsibility that their families have put on me lightly and want to work with all of our guys to try and help them through any situation they’re in.
“But ultimately, I’m always responsible to do what’s best for the University of South Carolina football team. Whether it be coaching decisions, personnel decisions, whatever it might be.“
The four-star prospect from nearby Camden High School was the fourth-highest-rated recruit in the Gamecocks’ 2023 signing class. The Class 3A Lower State Lineman of the Year had 54.5 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback pressures and 6.5 sacks as a senior.
McLeod is the first Gamecock to leave the team since the 2023 season began.
“But, like I said, I’ve got a responsibility to 118 other football players on the team and coaches and staff and always got to do what’s best for our program,” Beamer continued. “And that was kind of what this situation is. And wish him well. He’s a really good player, and wanna help him in any way that I can going forward. It just won’t be here at Carolina.”