On Wednesday night, Clemson’s star defensive end Vic Beasley announced that instead of entering the 2014 NFL Draft, he would be remaining at Clemson for his senior year. The redshirt junior from Adairsville, GA led the ACC with 13 sacks in the 2013 football season, bringing his total at Clemson up to 21.
After the outstanding season Clemson just had, losing many key players is going to hurt quite a bit. Tajh Boyd, the senior quarterback from Hampton, VA has started for the Tigers since 2011. During the 2013 season, the redshirt senior excelled and led the team to their first BCS bowl game victory since the Tigers’ national championship at the Orange Bowl in 1982.
Another loss for the Tigers was wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The junior announced on January 5 that he would be leaving Clemson a year early to enter the NFL draft. In the 2014 Orange Bowl against Ohio State University, Watkins broke the Clemson and Orange Bowl records for receptions with 16 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He is considered one of the top wide receivers entering the draft this year.
Two other notable players made the decision to leave Clemson early. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant and cornerback Bashaud Breeland are both entering the 2014 NFL Draft. Throughout the season, Bryant had 11 starts and caught 42 passes for 828 yards and seven touchdowns. Two of his three receptions during the Orange Bowl resulted in touchdowns.
Beasley’s return suggests another standout season for the Tigers. Prior to his announcement, Beasley was expected to go in the first round of the draft. He has been compared to Bruce Irvin, the first round pick to the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, and was expected to move into outside linebacker once he transitioned into the NFL because of his speed and agility.
With only eight more sacks needed to break the Clemson football record, Beasley enters the 2014 season with high expectations from fans as well as high goals for himself. Entering the bowl game, he was 50/50 on entering the draft versus staying at Clemson. “I literally made my decision Wednesday night,” said Beasley.
One of Beasley’s main reasons for remaining at Clemson is his desire to complete his education. During his press conference on Friday, he reiterated the importance of staying in school to graduate and get his degree. He said, “it was just hard for me to leave Clemson University without my degree and not being the best player I know I can be.”
With another year of improvement, Beasley shows potential to be a very high draft pick next year. Clemson’s defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, is whipping the Tigers’ defense into shape with Beasley at the helm.