|Lynne Sladky / Associated Press|
|Vic Beasley finished the 2013 season with 13 sacks, including one in an Orange Bowl win over Ohio State.|
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Clemson All-American defensive end Vic Beasley's offseason has been all about getting bigger and dropping into coverage.
In other words, the offseason for Beasley -- the leading returning sack man in the nation -- was all about preparing for the NFL.
Beasley, who is 6-foot-2, weighs about 235 pounds and said Sunday at the ACC Kickoff media event he would like to play at about 240 this fall. "Any size I put on will be beneficial," he said. And when asked about what he had worked on the most this offseason, he said "dropping back into coverage."
While Beasley is an end at Clemson, there is no call for a 235- or 240-pound end in the NFL. Instead, Beasley is going to have to transition to outside linebacker, likely in a 3-4 defense; in that scheme, he still would be allowed to do what he does best -- rush the passer.
Last season was Beasley's first as a starter, and he led the ACC and was tied for third in the nation with 13 sacks. He had eight sacks as a reserve in 2012, and his career total of 21 ranks eighth in school history; he needs eight more this fall to become Clemson's career leader (Gaines Adams and Michael Dean Perry each had 28).
He toyed with the idea of turning pro after last season and was given a second-round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Board. "I knew if I came back, it'd be a chance to go higher in the draft," Beasley said Sunday.
He is seen as a potential first-rounder as a 3-4 linebacker, but despite his pass-rush skills, questions persist about a position change and his lack of size. "That's motivation for me," he said.
Beasley, who is one of the most explosive players in the nation, has some history playing upright, as he would as a 3-4 outside 'backer. "I played a lot of 'up' and had a lot of success" last season against North Carolina State, he said, finishing with three sacks in a win over the Wolfpack.
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NFL Media draft analyst Bucky Brooks recently wrote that Beasley could "thrive in a Von Miller-like role" in the NFL.
Beasley -- who said Sunday he has taken out a $3 million insurance policy to guard against injury -- was clocked in 4.47 in the 40 in high school and spent some time as a scout-team quarterback as a Tigers true freshman in 2010. But he's not all about athleticism. He has been OK against the run and possesses a surprisingly effective bull rush.
While the soft-spoken Beasley plays with a nasty disposition -- he also has 31 tackles for loss in the past two seasons -- he revealed a previously unknown side of his personality at a players' event Saturday night when he showed off his talents on the piano. (Beasley played Frank Ocean's "Thinking About You" in a sort of public debut.) Beasley has been playing piano for about six years and is self-taught.
You'll forgive opposing quarterbacks if they don't think about Beasley the piano player when he's sacking them this fall.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.