By Will Vandervort
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley said on Tuesday that he got a second round grade back from the NFL Draft Advisory Board.
This news should make the redshirt junior’s decision to forgo his senior season at Clemson and enter the NFL Draft a little more difficult than he once originally thought. Beasley told reporters earlier this month that if he received a second-round grade or lower he would really have to think hard about going pro or not.
“It’s big. It has been real tough,” Beasley said. “I’m just trying to take it one day at a time and I’m not trying to stress out over it as much.”
The second-round grade seemed to puzzle the 6-foot-2, 235-pound junior. Beasley, who says he is not leaning one way or the other right now, has been one of the top defensive ends in the country and ranks third nationally with 12 sacks. He also led Clemson, who will play seventh-ranked Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl on Friday, with 19 tackles for loss and recorded 39 tackles from his defensive end position.
“I’m going to take a little more time and decide after the bowl game,” said the All-American defensive end.
Beasley has already spoken with both head coach Dabo Swinney and defensive coordinator Brent Venables and he says both said they will support him in whatever he chooses to do and they want what is best for him. He says his family is also being very supportive and told him it his decision and they want what is in his best interest as well.
“I’m not stressing over it. I’m just taking it a day at a time and trying to get this victory down here at the Orange Bowl,” he said. “After that, then I will think about it.”
What Beasley does in Friday’s Orange Bowl could go a long way in his decision to come out or not. If he is able to have a monster game against Ohio State’s All-American left tackle Jack Mewhort, similar to the performance Malliciah Goodman had in last year Chick-fil-A Bowl against LSU, then his draft stock is sure to shoot up.
“It can help a lot, obviously since I’m going against an offensive tackle that I’m hearing a lot about,” Beasley said. “I guess it can benefit me in a number of ways.”
“It is a big challenge. I like going up against a great player. They make me a lot better,” he said. “I’m going to come out and do whatever I can to help my team win.”
Mewhort says Beasley is someone he has not seen in the Big 10.
Beasley was not the only junior to be asked about his draft grade. Linebacker Stephone Anthony also said he got his grade back, but he would not comment on what that grade was. After Monday’s practice, wide receiver Martavis Bryant said he had not received his grade.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins said he did not turn in his paperwork because his coaches said there was no need to. Watkins could announce his decision to go pro or not after Friday’s Orange Bowl. Those are all the juniors on Clemson’s team that are contemplating a jump to the NFL. They have to declare for the 2014 NFL Draft by January 15.
As for what Beasley should do, Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett says the Tigers’ outstanding pass rusher should do whatever is in the best interest of him and his family. Grady announced last month, along with fellow defensive tackle Josh Watson, he would return to Clemson for his senior season.
“Just make sure whatever decision he makes is the one that he truly wants to make whether he comes back or leaves,” Jarrett said. “He is the one that will have to live with the decision for the rest of his life.
“I feel like Vic is a guy that if he does go, once people see him the sky is the limit for him. I just wish him the best and I hope whatever guidance he has is really helping him. It is his decision. He just needs to pray about it and talk to the family.”