Vic Beasley came to defensive end as a “science project.” Now he wants to be a “Transformer.”
A sophomore defensive end via tight end and linebacker, Beasley emerged as Clemson’s rainmaker last season, leading the team with eight sacks.
“Now, I’ve actually found a home,” he said. “I can get comfortable at one position and have the freedom to run with it.
“It takes a lot of stress off of me.”
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Starting spring practice at 232 pounds, up about 10 since the bowl game, his target is 250 by kickoff. “I believe my body type (at) 6-3, 6-4 can carry that much weight.”
To say Beasley has been noticed early this spring would be an understatement. Twice he has intercepted passes and returned them for touchdowns, the second Wednesday when, he confided, he read quarterback Tajh Boyd’s eyes.
“Somebody needs to tell him,” Beasley said. “I’m not going to tell him.”
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Beasley finds himself in a mix for playing time with five other ends.
“We have now at end what we had at (defensive) tackle last year. We had a lot of talented guys, and with that came a ton of competition.”
“That group has transformed. It doesn’t look the same,” he said of the ends. “And now we’ve got some experience with it. We had no experience. Last year, Vic Beasley was just a science project hoping it would work, and now he’s got a chance to be pretty doggone good.”
Beasley figured the competition would run into summer before a decision is made on the starters and rotation. He’s been working with Corey Crawford and Ebenezer Ogundeko at one end with Tavaris Barnes, Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd at the other. “I don’t think they will be made too soon.”
Free safety Tavaris Blanks took a solid hit during a drill the first day in practice, and though he was not diagnosed with a concussion, precautions were taken and he was limited during Wednesday’s practice.
Blanks said he was told he should be cleared for full duty after spring break. He said Robert Smith and Taylor Watson have been the primary strong safeties.
After playing as a hybrid outside linebacker much of last season, Blanks said he feels back in a comfort zone.
“That’s where I played in high school. I love seeing the whole field. My reads have been great, so it’s been good back there.”
His limitation layered further stress on the secondary, which were exacerbated when freshman Jadar Johnson sustained a dislocated elbow on Saturday.
In addition, corner Garry Peters has been suspended from practice until after the break, and Swinney said corner Bashaud Breeland left campus with his mother because his grandfather suffered a stroke.
Swinney anticipated playing several of the freshmen defensive backs signed in February.
“What I see happening at end is what I see happening in the secondary when all the pieces get here,” he said.
Stoudt play superb at QB
Though it’s early, Swinney said, backup quarterback Cole Stoudt has been superb, “his best five practices since he’s been at Clemson.”
Stoudt and Chad Kelly likely willcarry their battle behind starter Tajh Boyd into fall.
“He has been very, very impressive,” Swinney said of Stoudt. “His consistency, his fundamentals, his knowledge, he’s more engaged. He looks more like a leader, more like a guy that wants to assert himself.”
Parker chooses to step back
Linebacker Justin Parker told Swinney he could no longer play because of a painful knee injury. Parker told him he awakes with pain and it doesn’t subside.
“He wants to be involved, and he wants to be out here every day. He wants to be a student coach,” he said. “He’s one of the most respected players on the team.
“I hate it for him.”