Clemson's Swinney says Vic Beasley 'struggling' with draft decision
CLEMSON - Initially, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley said everybody would know his decision by this past Sunday.
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It's been nearly a week since the Orange Bowl, and Beasley is the final Tiger yet to announce whether he'll head to the NFL or return for his senior year.
Plenty of online reports have Beasley leaning toward the pros, but the first-team All-American does have until next Wednesday to say yea or nay, and he's taking his time.
"He has not made a decision. You know, he's kind of struggling with it," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Thursday in a radio interview with WCCP-FM, Clemson's flagship station.
"I think he really wants to come back to school, wants to be a senior. There's a lot of things on the table for him. And then there's that pull of having a chance to go fulfill a dream of being an NFL guy."
With 20 sacks in just 810 snaps, Beasley would be squarely in range to set Clemson's all-time sacks record in 2014, currently shared by Michael Dean Perry and Gaines Adams with 28 sacks.
"We'll support Vic either way it goes. Hope he comes back," Swinney said. "But I don't know that, and he has not made a decision. But I think we'll know here in the next couple of days."
Beasley received a second-round projection from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. So far, more than 70 underclassmen have declared their intentions to file for draft consideration.
"Maybe he can slip up into that first round, who knows? But every time a guy comes out, that pool gets bigger and bigger, and it's a bottleneck into those 32 spots, because they don't change," Swinney said. "That's weighing on him. I think he wants to be a first-rounder, and I think he wants to be a high first-rounder. So he has to make a decision he's comfortable with."
Clemson already has bid adieu to receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant and cornerback Bashaud Breeland, while welcoming back linebacker Stephone Anthony and defensive end Corey Crawford. Watkins is No. 6 on ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s big board; Bryant and Breeland figure to be late-round selections or free agents.
"My opinion is, again, unless you're a sure-fire first-rounder, you should come back," Swinney said. "But that's just an opinion. All these guys have to make decision based on their situation, things they feel in their heart, and then they can't look back."
Beasley was recruited to Clemson as an athlete, moving around from tight end to running back and linebacker before settling in as the Tigers' top pass-rusher off the edge.
"Man, he is a great young man. It's been a lot of fun seeing him grow and mature and develop into the type of player we knew he could be," Swinney said. "It's a credit to the process you go through here."
These were Swinney's first public comments since Clemson's 40-35 victory over Ohio State Friday night in south Florida.