THE ORANGE BOWL
Who: No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio State
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
When: Friday, 8:30 p.m.
Records: Clemson (10-2, 7-1 ACC); Ohio State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten)
TV announcers: Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen, Maria Taylor
Radio announcers: Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake
Current point spread: Ohio State by
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Now it's Vic Beasley's turn to mull it over.
Live from Miami
Post and Courier beat writer Aaron Brenner has arrived in south Florida with all your news and notes on Clemson, Ohio State and the Orange Bowl. Follow him on Twitter for all the latest updates.
On Monday, Sammy Watkins indicated he's likely to leave Clemson for the NFL Draft next spring.
Beasley, a defensive end with 12 sacks who earned All-American honors by some publications, told reporters Tuesday he received a second-round draft grade from the NFL Draft Advisory board, a grade the coaches shared with Beasley in recent days.
Beasley said in early December if he received a first-round draft grade, he was certain he'd forego his senior year. But if it was a second- or third-round grade, he'd have a decision to make.
"I haven't really considered thinking about it," Beasley said Tuesday. "Just focused on this game. And I'll decide after the game."
Beasley was asked if he's disappointed he wasn't a first-round projection.
"Nah, nah," Beasley said. "I know I can move up into the first round if I decide to come back."
Beasley also knows Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins received a second-round grade last year, and was able to sneak into the No. 27 overall pick by the Houston Texans.
Beasley (6-2, 235) has 20 sacks over the past two years.
"He's got the uncanny quickness and explosiveness, a short-area burst," defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "Top that with, he doesn't have great size but he's got incredible strength and ability to leverage. So he can play like a 265-pound guy like he needs to against bigger opponents."
Head coach Dabo Swinney has repeatedly insisted his philosophy is only sure-fire first-round talents (such as Watkins) should leave college football before they complete their eligibility. He won't change his mind for Beasley.
"I've always been consistent with that," Swinney said. "From a business standpoint, and in life, finishing school and an opportunity to move up, he's a guy I think has legitimate first-round ability. He's got some things he has to do to put himself there.
"But that's for each one of the guys to make a decision, and whatever they do, I'll support them."
Good as Gurley
Clemson's been pretty good stopping the run this year, bottling up Boston College's Andre Williams and South Carolina's Mike Davis, but Georgia's Todd Gurley got the best of the Tigers in the opener.
Ohio State senior Carlos Hyde, a 235-pound tailback, isn't too concerned about outdoing the likes of Williams and Davis.
"I actually watched the film on the Georgia game. Their running back had success. I haven't really watched much of the South Carolina game," Hyde said. "Like you said, the quarterback (Connor Shaw) did good. That's not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for which running back did good against them, and the Georgia running back had a pretty good day."
The Tigers allowed three 100-yard rushers this year: Gurley (154), Syracuse's Jerome Smith (125) and Georgia Tech's Robert Godhigh (126). Hyde has reached at least 100 yards in his last eight efforts, after sitting out the first three games of the year due to suspension.
But who's counting?
Hyde was asked what a perfect Orange Bowl would be for him.
"Perfect ending for me would be beating 226. That's the most rushing yards in the Orange Bowl," Hyde said. "And the win. So that would be the perfect way to go out."
It was fairly impressive that Hyde was aware of the mark off the top of his head.
"Yeah, I like to know things like that," Hyde said.
Problem is, the official Orange Bowl media guide indicates Nebraska's Ahman Green holds the record in 1998 against Tennessee - with 206 rushing yards.
Tale of two infirmaries
Ohio State continues to battle a mysterious bout of stomach bugs on the team - quarterback Braxton Miller did not attend 8 a.m. interviews when he woke up sick, though later he was practicing and even skimboarding on the Buckeyes' beach trip.
Meanwhile, the Tigers are still all healthy, according to Swinney.
"Yeah, yeah, we're in good shape," Swinney said.
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