Priority decision

CLEMSON - Vic Beasley could set the school's all-time sack record during his final season at Clemson, but that's not why he opted to come back for his senior year.

The books took priority in the decision that Beasley wrestled with after the Orange Bowl.

"The most important thing was getting my education," Beasley said. "Secondly, just maximizing my opportunity as a player."

Personal accolades were a distant runner-up to those two. But Beasley is eighth in school history with 21 sacks. And he needs just eight more to break the Clemson record of 28.5, which is shared by Michael Dean Perry and Gaines Adams.

"Leaving a great legacy here at Clemson University is one of my goals," Beasley said.

Projected as a second-round pick by league's advisory board, Beasley is taking a 15-hour course load this semester. He'll enter the summer 10 hours from graduation.

Before the bowl, Beasley had the look and sound of a guy who was leaning towards leaving school. He said that wasn't the case.

"I was still really 50/50 going into the bowl game and after the bowl game," Beasley said. "I literally made my decision Wednesday night."

He added, "I just didn't really make my mind up. I was just thinking, listing the pros and the cons. I just made my decision based on getting my degree and being a better player here at Clemson University."

To do that, Beasley's gone back to work in the weight room and on the field for mat drills.

"I'm just going to go to work in the offseason, just work on my weaknesses, run technique, playing against the run, just getting bigger, faster and stronger," he said.

And he's just one of several starting defensive linemen with starting experience that's returning in 2014.

"I feel like the spotlight is going to be on the whole defensive line," Beasley said. "We're returning all the starters."

As a team, Clemson led the country with 123 tackles for loss last season and was tied for 12th with 38 sacks in 2013. They're hoping to be even better next season.

"That's our goal, to be the best in the nation," Beasley said. "We led the country in tackles for loss and we plan on doing it again next year."

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