Vic Beasley making major impact on Tigers' defensive line

Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley pursues Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier during the second quarter at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley pursues Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier during the second quarter at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.

Beasley standing out on d-line

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— There’s little questioning Vic Beasley’s production in 2012.

Following last week’s three-sack effort against N.C. State, Clemson’s sophomore defensive end has eight sacks. That’s best on Clemson’s roster and third in the ACC behind Florida State’s Cornelius Carradine (10.5 sacks) and Bjoern Werner (9.5 sacks).

The amazing part? Beasley has only 252 snaps this season, meaning he’s averaging a sack every 31.5 snaps. By comparison, Nagurski Award winner and unanimous All-American Da’Quan Bowers averaged a sack every 44.1 plays in his outstanding 2010 season, while the late Gaines Adams averaged a sack every 46 plays during his All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the year campaign in 2006.

“He gets in there, he’s productive. He does have a knack for it,” said Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. “He’s got a couple of nice move and counters. He’s not Johnny One-Move. He’s got a few in his arsenal. He’s been a force. It’s helped get a lot of guys excited. Those are big plays in the game when you can get sacks and negative plays for the offense, put guys behind the chains.”

Beasley has finally found a home at linebacker. He arrived at Clemson as an athlete prospect, and began at running back, then moved to tight end, then across the line of scrimmage to linebacker.

“Vic was frustrating to the staff,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.” He was not fully committed to being a great player. …. The move to linebacker wasn’t a great fit, and he was struggling to learn a lot.”

A final move to defensive end – where Beasley backs up fellow sophomore Corey Crawford – has made a huge difference.

“I don’t think he was fully committed, I’m not sure he was truly all-in,” Swinney said. “We sold him and challenged him to go try this. We needed him to step up – we had major concerns at that position, not much depth or experience. The fact that he’s been able to have success, it’s been like a light has come on for him. He has his own identity. He doesn’t have to be Malliciah Goodman or Tavaris Barnes or Corey Crawford. He can be Vic Beasley. He’s created his own niche and bought into that.”

He still has a tremendous upside as well. Beasley weighs only 227 pounds, and Swinney believes he’ll be much more of an every-down force with 20 extra pounds of muscle. Right now, Swinney says, Beasley is “as strong as anyone we have on the team, pound for pound.”

Venables said Beasley must be committed to further improvement as well.

He’s got all kinds of room to be better,” Venables said. “The physical part is gaining the weight and being committed that way. It’s not easy to do but if you’re not gaining you must not be trying hard enough. You’re burning more than you’re putting in your body. That’s a conscious decision to me, one that we’ve got to get him to mature. He’s got to be hungry for it. He’s got to want to become a great player. Not good sometimes. But there’s attitude and the physical part that go together.”

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