We're a bit less than six months away from the start of the 2014 season, but Clemson already has suspended four players for its Aug. 30 opener against Georgia, including three projected starters, for a violation of team rules.
The projected starters, all seniors, are defensive end Corey Crawford, cornerback Garry Peters and guard David Beasley. Crawford (6-foot-5, 270 pounds) was a fulltime starter in 2012 and '13 and has a legitimate NFL future. He is strong against the run and has some big-play ability, as evidenced by his 10.5 tackles for loss in 2013. He and senior Vic Beasley -- who had 13 sacks in 2013 -- give Clemson the best defensive end duo in the ACC and one of the top seven or eight in the nation.
Those two head what should be a stout defensive line, which returns all four starters. Senior tackle Grady Jarrett is a load in the middle, and there is ample depth at tackle, too.
David Beasley (6-4, 320), no relation to Vic, is a potential third-day draftee. He is an aggressive and physical run blocker who will be a third-year starter in the fall. He and Crawford went to high school together in Columbus, Ga.
Peters (6-0, 185) is expected to fill one of two vacancies at corner. Clemson lost both starting corners from last season, and corner is the only potential weak link on defense. Peters was a part-time starter in 2012 before being bothered by injuries in 2013.
The fourth suspended player is backup offensive tackle Shaq Anthony (6-4, 280).
"A huge part of our program is teaching accountability, responsibility and that there are consequences for your actions," Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said in a release. "These are four good young men, but they broke a team rule, and as a result, they will each miss a game. I am hopeful that they will learn and grow from this and have a great 2014 season on and off the field."
Clemson finished 11-2 and ranked No. 7 in the coaches' poll in 2013. The Tigers beat Ohio State in the Orange Bowl, and they should head into the 2014 season in the top 20 and as one of the top three teams in the ACC. One problem for Clemson is that defending national champion Florida State is in the same division, so -- as with last season -- the Tigers could be No. 2 in the league but also No. 2 in the division.