Carolina Panthers In 2024 NFL Draft:
Meet Home-Grown 1st-Round Pick Xavier Legette

By David Glenn
North Carolina Sports Network

Xavier Legette, born and raised in the Carolinas, has literally been getting closer and closer to the Carolina Panthers for his entire life.

He grew up in Mullins, S.C., a small town located about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Charlotte. He played the past five seasons for the South Carolina Gamecocks, in Columbia, S.C., about a 90-minute trip from Charlotte. Last September, he played at Bank of America Stadium, on the Panthers’ home turf, as the Gamecocks battled North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Classic.

Now Legette (pronounced lee-GET) is headed to the Queen City on a full-time basis, as Carolina’s 2024 first-round draft pick.

The Panthers made a draft-night trade Thursday to get Legette, sending the first pick of the second round (#33 overall) and their fifth-round selection to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for the final pick of the first round (#32 overall) and the Bills’ sixth-round pick.

Although Legette started games during each of his five seasons in Columbia, he had a true break-out campaign as a fifth-year senior in 2023, when he earned first-team All-SEC honors and third-team All-America accolades from multiple outlets. (He was voted to the All-SEC second team by the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.) In 12 starts, Legette had 71 receptions for 1,255 yards — that’s the second-highest single-season total in Gamecocks history — and seven touchdowns.

“We love Xavier,” Panthers general manager Dan Morgan said. “Everything he brought, not only as a person, but as a player — his ability to attack the ball when it’s in the air, his ability to run with it after the catch. He’s just big, he’s strong, he’s physical. I think he has a lot of upside. We wanted to take that (trade) opportunity to go get our guy.”

Name: Xavier Legette (pronounced lee-GET)
Age: 23
Height: 6-1
Weight: 221
Position: Wide Receiver
College: South Carolina
Honors: First-Team All-SEC, Third-Team All-America (2023)
High School: Mullins (S.C.) High

Under new head coach Dave Canales, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2023 offensive coordinator and a long-time Seattle Seahawks wide receivers coach, one of the Panthers’ top offseason priorities was bolstering the supporting cast around young quarterback Bryce Young, their #1 overall selection in last year’s draft.

On the offensive line, Carolina secured two new starting guards from the free-agent market. Robert Hunt, a Miami Dolphins starter for the past four seasons, landed a five-year, $100 million contract with the Panthers. Damien Lewis, a Seattle Seahawks starter for the past four seasons, signed a four-year, $53 million deal.

At wide receiver, the Panthers now have made three significant offseason additions to a group that already included veteran Adam Thielen (103 receptions for 1,014 yards and four touchdowns last season), Jonathan Mingo (43-418-0) and Terrace Marshall Jr. (19-139-0). Thielen was a free-agent addition last year. Mingo and Marshall were the team’s second-round draft picks in 2023 and 2021, respectively.

In addition to Legette, Carolina has added Pittsburgh Steelers star Diontae Johnson and well-traveled veteran David Moore over the past two months.

Johnson, a five-year NFL starter, 2019 All-Pro honoree and 2021 Pro Bowl selection, was acquired via trade, with the Panthers sending starting cornerback Donte Jackson to the Steelers. Moore, a part-time starter in Seattle during Canales’ time with the Seahawks, played in seven regular-season games and two postseason contests last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Regarding Legette, below are a few worthwhile contributions from the social media world.

Here is a well-done biography from South Carolina’s video team.

Here is one of Legette’s 12 career touchdown receptions with the Gamecocks.

Here is one celebrating his unforgettable South Carolina accent.