Finding the fun in football has never been a problem for Vic Beasley.
That's more true than ever since he's found his college home at defensive end.
"I love playing the game - I guess it just comes natural to me," said the rising junior, who led the Tigers in sacks last season despite playing part-time as a backup to Corey Crawford. "Coming in I played some at tight end and some at linebacker, but now I've found a home. I'm comfortable at my position. I just feel free to run around like I want to and have fun with the game."
After playing last season as a speed-rushing specialist, Beasley is working to make himself into an every-down defensive end.
He's up to 232 pounds, and has a goal of weighing 245-250 by the beginning of fall camp.
"I think with my body type, at 6-3 or 6-4, can carry that much weight," he said.
Dabo Swinney says that at 245, Beasley would play the position like a 270-pounder. "He's that strong and powerful," Swinney said.
In addition to bulking up physically, Beasley says he knows he has to become a more disciplined player and more of a student of the game.
"I've been working on my run technique, being able to be better at run plays and taking on bigger tackles," Beasley said. "I'm watching more film and being more in tune with what's going on as far as play-calling - just being more football-focused."
As Beasley prepares himself to take on a bigger role, Swinney has already noticed positive changes.
“Vic was like a science project - we were just hoping that it would work,” Swinney said. “He has a chance to be pretty doggone good. The thing with Vic is that sometimes he'll act like a space cadet, but that guy has great instincts and a great feel for the game. He’s disruptive.
"He’s bought in - he’s all in and is really sold on his opportunity. He looks good, and has some size and some really good football instincts and IQ.”
Beasley says he continues to play mostly on the weak side, though coaches Brent Venables and Marion Hobby rotated the two defensive end positions during the Clemson's first five spring practices.
"My side is very competitive, with me and Corey and Ebo (freshman Ebenezer Ogundeko), and the other side, too, with Tavaris (Barnes), (Kevin) Dodd and Shaq Lawson," said Beasley. "I don't think any kind of decision is going to be made too soon."
Beasley has already provided a couple of the Tigers' spring practice highlights, with interceptions for touchdowns. The latest came in Clemson's final practice before spring break, on a Tajh Boyd screen pass.
"It was just being aware, knowing where the ball was, and reading the quarterback's eyes," Beasley said. "I saw the tackle drop down, saw the running back come out, and I just read the screen. There it was, a pick-six."
Beasley laughed when someone suggested that Boyd needed to be told of the eye-reading episode: "Somebody needs to, but I'm not going to tell him."