Just a couple weeks removed from breaking Clemson's all-time sack record previously held by former NFL players Michael Dean Perry and Gaines Adams, Tigers defensive end Vic Beasley will find himself in the company of even more pro talent this Saturday.
Future pro talent, anyway.
Syracuse offensive tackle Sean Hickey is one of the top players in the nation at his position, and should provide a solid test for Beasley, even if the Orange don't provide the same for the Tigers. One NFC scout called the Beasley-Hickey battle an "exposure matchup," according to syracuse.com, one that will help reveal more about both as pro prospects. Last year, Beasley got the better of the matchup in making two sacks. According to the report, Hickey didn't allow a sack in any other game all season.
"Watching him, his first three steps are by far the best in college football," Hickey said. "He's on his third step when all the other D-linemen are on their first. Watching his legs move is pretty impressive. He's a special talent."
Hickey (6-foot-6, 306 pounds) considered leaving early for the NFL draft after last season, but returned to improve his stock as a prospect. Hickey said he was projected as a third- to fifth-round pick by the NFL Draft Advisory Board last winter. With another year of experience and perhaps a strong head-to-head performance against Beasley, he could help himself move even higher. Like Hickey, Beasley also returned to college for his senior year to improve his stock; Beasley received a second-round grade last year from the NFLDAB.
The undersized Beasley (6-3, 235) recorded the 29th sack of his career two weeks ago to break a school record, and leads the ACC in sacks this season with eight.
If Hickey has anything to say about it, Beasley will hold at eight through the weekend.