By Will Vandervort
Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley said Friday the situation that involved former running back C.J. Spiller four years ago, played a role in his decision to come back and play for the Tigers for one more year.
In deciding whether to forgo his senior year or comeback, Beasley recalled a conversation Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had with him in which he told Beasley how Spiller came to make his decision to stay in Tigertown despite getting a first-round grade after his junior season.
“I talked to Coach Swinney and he gave me a familiar story that was similar to mine. It was C.J. Spiller’s,” said Beasley, who says he went back and forth since the Orange Bowl before making his decision to return to Clemson on Wednesday night. “That influenced me a little bit, but at the end of the day, I made my decision based on getting my degree and doing what is best for me and my family.”
Ironically, getting his degree was Spiller’s plan too and he ultimately did. Like Spiller, Beasley is also on course to graduate in December and is getting his degree in socially. The same degree as Spiller However, it also worked out for Spiller on the football field.
The former Clemson running back ended up having one of the best seasons for a running back in Clemson and Atlantic Coast Conference history in 2009 and ultimately was the No. 9 overall pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2010 NFL Draft.
“I want to get my education and secondly I want to maximize my opportunity as a player,” Beasley said.
Beasley will have an opportunity to do just that next season as he returns as well as everyone on the Tigers’ two-deep depth chart along the defensive front.
Last year, Beasley was one of six finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award—given to the nation’s best defensive end—one of 12 semifinalists for the Lombardi Award and one of 16 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award in 2013. The First Team All-American finished the season with 44 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.
By coming back to school, Beasley is on course to break Clemson’s all-time sack record which is currently owned by former Clemson greats Michael Dean Perry (1984-’87) and Gaines Adams (2003-’06) at 28.5. Beasley has 21 sacks and needs only seven to set a new mark.
“I can be even more special,” he said. “I know they are probably going to double team me a lot, but with the other guys on my side of the ball with Corey (Crawford) and Grady (Jarrett), those guys will draw attention, too.”
And that should free Beasley up for more sacks and tackles for loss, or at least somebody else if the double team is coming to him.
“I’m just going to go to work in the off-season,” Beasley said. “I will work on my weaknesses, my run technique and playing against the run and get bigger, faster and stronger.”
Beasley is one of several Clemson stars in recent years who decided to pass up a high draft possibility and return to Clemson for his senior year. As mentioned above, Spiller did it on ‘09 as did Adams in ‘06 and last year it was quarterback Tajh Boyd.
“It was a great decision! It was a great day for the Tigers. He is coming back and is going to lead the nation in sacks,” said Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell following his press conference with the media Friday.
And Brownell shares the same sentiment as every Clemson fan in the country. They are happy to have Mr. Beasley back for one more year.