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Clemson DE Beasley to bypass NFL Draft, return to school

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is brought down by Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley during the first half of the Orange Bowl
Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley brings down Ohio State QB Braxton Miller.
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)

Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley wants one more season with the Tigers.

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The Atlantic Coast Conference leader with 13 sacks this season has decided to postpone a shot at the NFL and play his senior season at Clemson. The school announced Beasley's decision Wednesday.

When asked what Beasley's choice meant for the Tigers in 2014, coach Dabo Swinney texted back, "Lot of sacks."

The announcement also means one of the best defensive lines in the country stays together for one last season. The Tigers led the Football Bowl Subdivision in tackles for loss, and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and defensive end Corey Crawford also decided to return.

But Beasley was the group's dynamic star, and he stretched out his decision to the final few hours before the deadline for eligible underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Beasley, from Adairsville, Ga., came to Clemson as a running back prospect who also was tried at tight end before switching to defense. He was a pass-rushing specialist as a sophomore, leading the Tigers with eight sacks.

Beasley proved he could play all downs this season, upping his sack totals and finishing with 23 tackles for loss, which was second in the ACC.

He looks lost sometimes in the trenches amid the 300-pounders who line up in front of him. But then Beasley uses his "Dip-n-Rip" move -- he ducks his shoulders and uses his long arms to move linemen out of the way -- which often ends in a Clemson tackle.

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Beasley received a second-round NFL draft grade before Clemson's 40-35 victory over Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. He seemed a solid bet to leave along with junior receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant, and cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who each gave up their senior seasons for the pros.

Clemson loses three senior starters on defense -- linebackers Quandon Christian and Spencer Shuey, and cornerback Darius Robinson -- and Breeland.

Swinney said Beasley was torn throughout the decision process before eventually choosing to return. Beasley went to class this week as he figured out what to do.

Beasley is only 10 credit hours away from completing his degree, something team spokesman Tim Bourret said was a factor in the player's return.

He's the latest key junior to hold off on the pros to play with Clemson. Star tailback C.J. Spiller made that choice in 2008 and became the ACC's player of the year the next season. Quarterback Tajh Boyd passed up the draft last January and helped Clemson to its second straight 11-2 season.

Now it's Beasley's turn to try and improve on his game. He's eight sacks away from breaking the school record held by Michael Dean Perry and the late Gaines Adams.

"I've had a lot of frustration and a lot of doubt" about finding a place at Clemson, Beasley said in September. "Thank God, I found a place and I love where I'm at."

Tagged: Clemson, Vic Beasley

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