The Clemson Tigers have had a reputation for developing top pass rushing talent at the defensive end position. As of 2006, that list of talent has included the late Gaines Adams, Ricky Sapp, Daquan Bowers, and Andre Branch. All made it to the NFL stage. Now, junior defensive Vic Beasley looks to potentially join that group of pass rushers.
Through Clemson’s first three games, Beasley has accumulated five sacks, two against Georgia in the season opener and three against NC State in the Tigers’ ACC opener. Beasley found a home at defensive end last season as a situational pass rusher; he was the team leader in sacks with eight, good enough for fourth in the ACC.
Compared to All-American Gamecock defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who just has one sack after being tabbed as a serious Heisman candidate in the preseason, Beasley is showing more explosion, consistency, and conditioning.
At a solid 6-3, 232 pounds, Beasley is certainly undersized for a prototypical defensive end, but his athleticism on the edge still makes him a dangerous threat on passing situations. He has held up well against the bigger offensive linemen and against the run, something that was a little bit of a concern when he established himself as the starter. Beasley has also shown great explosion off the line of scrimmage in the bull rush as well as the speed rush. But what has made him so dangerous has been his deceptive strength for his size. And offensive linemen haven’t realized this until he introduces them to his bull rush, something he does the best out of any of Clemson’s group of defensive ends.
Beasley also showed against NC State that he is athletic enough to play with his hand in the dirt and stand up as an outside linebacker on the edge, which can give defensive coordinator Brent Venables more versatility and options with his defensive schemes.
Thus far, Beasley has been dominating his one-on-one matchups, and teams haven’t keyed in on him… yet. Moving forward, teams will be sure to make him more of a factor in their game plan, especially as he continues his stream of pass rushing success. The Tigers have been needing some playmakers to emerge on defense, and through their first three game, Beasley looks to be one of them.