Beasley garners NFL interest at Clemson
by Jason Greenberg
Dec 22, 2013 | 2995 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This time next year, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley could be in any number of cities. He may be in New York, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago or wherever his future NFL franchise resides. He could remain at Clemson and finish his degree.

However, no matter where the 6-foot-2 All-American finds himself, his home will always be Adairsville.

Beasley is a native of Adairsville and graduated from Adairsville High in 2010. He has since gone on to become an All-American and is projected by several pundits as a first-round NFL draft pick.

“It would be a dream come true to make the NFL coming from Adairsville,” Beasley said. “There’s been a lot of players from Adairsville, and a lot of guys try to go to the NFL or NBA, and there’s been plenty of talent to do so. They haven’t yet, but it would be great for me to actually go to the NFL and actually finish what a lot of people could not.”

Beasley has put himself into the first-round discussion thanks to an outstanding redshirt junior season. A USA today first-team All-American, Associated Press second-team All-American and a first team All-ACC defensive selection, Beasley has 35 tackles, nine for loss, 12 sacks and four forced fumbles.

“Yeah, I’m very proud,” Beasley said of his accomplishments. “I just thank God for giving me the opportunity to face these challenges and for giving me the strength.”

Along with the newfound success comes fame. While at Adairsville High, Beasley was a three-star recruit and had been offered scholarships by major collegiate programs, including Auburn, Alabama and, of course, Clemson. In a small town like Adairsville, Beasley was quite popular. Now, he’s famous.

“Usually when we get a break, that’s when I usually go home and, I mean, it was kind of bad in high school, but it’s really crazy now that I’m having a lot of success at the college level,” Beasley said of his increased fame. “Growing up in a small town like Adairsville, everybody knows you.”

Back in the early ’80s, it was Beasley’s father, Victor, who was the talk of the town. Victor was an all-conference player at Auburn.

Ironically, Vic not only spurned his father’s alma mater and its scholarship offer during his recruitment, but he made the current national championship finalist pay with a loss when Clemson and Auburn met on the gridiron.

On Sept. 1, 2012, Beasley was a redshirt sophomore competing for snaps at linebacker. With playing time dependent on every snap, Beasley sacked Auburn’s quarterback on third down on what was a potential game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter.

Many college football fans heard the name, Vic Beasley, for the first time when he made that play. For Beasley’s former head coach at Adairsville High, Jim Kremer, the breakout game was imminent.

“It does not surprise me one bit — not one bit at all,” Kremer said of Beasley’s success. “He was as good as anyone I have ever seen. I was fortunate enough to coach Warren Sapp his senior year and Kris Durham. I think a lot of coaches have been fortunate enough to coach great players but I’ve seen them, and Vic had more talent than both of those young men.”

What Kremer was a little unsure about was exactly what position Beasley would play at the collegiate level. He was a high school standout and an incredible athlete, which made it all the more difficult to find exactly where he could help Adairsville the most. In his senior season, it was at tailback and linebacker.

“He played linebacker for us and, because we didn’t have a tailback, he played tailback for us. Ideally, Vic was an H-back guy. Originally, Clemson was looking at him to be an H-back type of guy or a tight end, but I always thought he would eventually put his hand down and be a defensive end,” Kremer said. “ His foray, I thought, along with a lot of other coaches, was on the defensive side.”

Regardless of the position, Beasley was blessed with extraordinary physical gifts. He could run, approximately, a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and could power clean 335 pounds. Still, the process to becoming a standout on the BCS college football level is not one without its hardships.

Beasley continued to bounce from position to position as the Clemson coaching staff went through a similar process to that of the Adairsville coaching staff.

Originally recruited as an athlete, Clemson redshirted Beasley and then had him play tight end his freshman year, before being moved to linebacker in 2012. The uncertainty of learning a new position every season was a challenge for Beasley, along with the adjustment to college life.

“Time management is important because classes aren’t like they are in high school. You have to manage your time with schoolwork and then football,” Beasley said. “I wasn’t as committed as I should have been the last couple of years to the whole football thing because it was kind of hard to juggle football and school.”

“As a freshman, he actually considered coming back and he wanted to come back and start his own church in Adairsville,” Kremer said. “To be a pastor, that’s his long-range goal to this day, but we just encouraged him to stay with [football] so he could come back and build a big church.”

Despite the hurdles, Beasley and Kremer had confidence that eventually Beasley would find a position and thrive.

“The decision was with Vic. I knew that when he decided to really hunt every snap and get after it every play that he was as good as anyone,” Kremer said.

“I felt like sooner or later God was going to bless me with success at the college level,” Beasley said.

Beasley did break out his junior season with 18 tackles, eight for loss, and a team-high eight sacks, which was good enough for fourth in the ACC.

He has followed it up with a stellar redshirt junior campaign, and now is contemplating entering the NFL draft. Even as a redshirt junior, Beasley would be one of the youngest players in the draft.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but he just turned 17 shortly after he graduated [from Adairsville High]. He was 16 his senior year so he was very young,” Kremer said of Beasley. “He was so young and we all kind of knew that the best days for Vic were going to be ahead of him.”

The fact that Beasley is just 20 years old may indicate he still has plenty of potential as he continues to develop his strength. Many NFL teams will be turned away because, at 6-foot-2, Beasley lacks ideal height for a defensive end.

However, his speed and pass rushing instincts still have scouts salivating over a potential future double-digit sack artist.

“It’s mainly just a family decision because I haven’t finished my degree yet,” Beasley, a sociology major, said of whether or not he will enter the NFL draft. “It’s just a matter of whether I’m going to finish my degree and spend another great year at Clemson or take my talents to the NFL.”

Whether or not Beasley jumps to the next level, his focus is currently on the upcoming Orange Bowl on Jan. 1 against Ohio State.

“I feel confident. I feel like we’re going to go down there and get a big win for us,” Beasley said of the game. “I think they have good players and a good team, but I don’t think they can play with us.

“Yeah, I’m going to have a couple of sacks.”

No matter the outcome of the game or the performance of Beasley, he knows the town of Adairsville is behind him.

“The relationships I’ve developed there, they’re just lifelong bonds that you have when you’re brought up in a small town,” Beasley says. “I’ll never forget where I came from.”