Beasley's red-hot start

CLEMSON – You saw 2012's numbers, and they were eye-popping. But entering this season, the question remained: could Vic Beasley be an effective every-down player?

Three games into the 2013 campaign, the answer is a resounding yes.

Clemson's junior defensive end has racked up five sacks, tops in the ACC and a half-sack off the national lead.

In fact, he's even more productive than a year ago. In 2012, Beasley had eight sacks in 288 snaps behind Malliciah Goodman, averaging a sack every 36 snaps.

This fall, his five sacks have come in 124 snaps, or one every 24.5 snaps.

"I believe it's my mindset," Beasley said. "Coaches told me they were going to be expecting a lot from me this year, wanted me to be an every-down guy. I just worked hard this offseason, showed up in the spring, had a good spring, and had a good camp."

Beasley gained attention last fall for his speed-rush technique, racing around opposing offensive tackles quickly. He weighed 225 pounds and said he used "a lot of my speed and quickness and not a lot of power."

He knew that opponents would study his film and that he needed to mature. So Beasley put on 10 pounds of muscle, moving up to 235.

"Last year I was using my quickness," he said. "I believe guys watched the film from last year. They know I'm a quick guy and think I'll play my speed more than my speed to power and my inside move. So I believe keeping the offensive guard and tackles on their toes has helped me a lot." He even has a go-to pass-rush move which he calls the "Dip and Rip."

With a year at defensive end under his belt, Beasley feels far more confident than he did a year ago. He says coaches want him to be aggressive, but still play solid technique. "This is all about experience," he said.

"Experience from last year, going into this year, I've grown a lot. Just knowing the whole defense, knowing what coach (Brent) Venables wants from me."

With five sacks in three games, Beasley is on pace for 20 sacks in the 12-game regular season. That would shatter Keith Adams' Clemson single-season mark of 16 set in 1999. Four years ago, Da'Quan Bowers flirted with the mark, finishing with 15.5.

"If there's a record, I'm trying to break it," he said. "If there's a record, I'm going for it."

It's quite a transformation for a player who arrived at Clemson as a tight end and then bounced to linebacker. He's clearly found a home on the edge of the Tigers' defensive line.

"I had a lot of frustration, a lot of doubt through my years here," he said. "thanks to God I found a good place. I like the position I'm at."

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