CLEMSON - One un-updated CBSSports.com NFL draft projection Friday still had Clemson junior Vic Beasley going No. 22 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Eagles supporters, and more NFL fanatics, had been tracking the star defensive end's every move on Twitter – calling on him to declare – in the last two weeks post-Orange Bowl.
The Adairsville, Ga. native, however, didn't have a set course until the early-entry deadline day.
Beasley made decision for degree
Decision made Wed.
"I was still really 50-50 going into the bowl game and after the bowl game," Beasley said Friday. "I really made my decision Wednesday night."
Who heard his choice first? None other than Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, over the phone, and the Tigers coach met him afterward for dinner that night to discuss what's next.
"I talked to coach Swinney and he gave me a familiar story to mine with C.J. Spiller," said Beasley. "It kind of influenced me a little bit, but at the end of the day, I made my decision based on getting my degree and what was best for me and my family."
The former Tiger great Spiller's patience paid off from late first-round projections to a top-10 selection in 2010 NFL draft. After talking with Spiller this week, Beasley says he's ready to put in the work to follow in his footsteps.
"I wanted to maximize my opportunity as a player," Beasley said. "I can be even more special. I know they're probably going to double-team me a lot, but with the other guys on my side of the ball, those guys will draw attention to."
Beasley sent in his paperwork and received a second-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board. Their recommendations? Get bigger – around 10 pounds to be precise, adding on to his 6-3 235 frame.
The grade did give him pause after stating he was a first-round prospect in December. That line first-to-second round is in the seven-figure dollar range of worth.
Tiger teammates Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant and Bashaud Breeland joined the fray of a record 90-plus juniors entering the draft. Of last year's record number (73), 24.7 percent went in the first round, and 28.8 percent went undrafted. More in Beasley's range, 30 percent landed in the second and third rounds – like first-round projection and LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, who slipped to the Houston Texans in the third.
"You just have to know what's best for you," Beasley said. "You have to know the risks of going and the risks of coming back. You just never know and have to go with your gut feeling and do what's best for you.
"Just going to go to work in the offseason and work on my weaknesses. Run technique and playing against the run. Just getting bigger, faster and stronger."
The athletic pass rusher is in the midst of one of the best two-year runs in Clemson history.
He has 21 sacks in 26 games, which have all come against FBS competition (15 in ACC play). In his first year as a starter, Beasley almost tripled his tackle for loss (23) and tackle numbers (42) from 2012.
A Ted Hendricks Award finalist (top DE), he finished third nationally in sacks and fourth in TFL, making first-team All-American. He sits eight sacks from the Clemson career record (28) held by Michael Dean Perry and Gaines Adams.
Beasley completes a full line of starters returning for the Tigers, which figures to pace the ACC and possibly all of college football.
"Our goal is to be the best in the nation," he said. "We led the nation in tackles for loss. We plan to do that again next year."
The Tiger d-line accounted for 34 of the 38 sacks last season, and 99.5 tackles for loss return from the unit as a whole.
"We have made a statement in college football and we plan to make it again," Beasley said.