To help get you through college football’s slow days of late June and early July — before conference media days launch the preseason festivities — we’re counting down the 12 most important South Carolina Gamecocks and 12 most important Clemson Tigers for 2013. One Gamecock and one Tiger every day, so you can spend part of your summer studying the players who will make a difference for your team come autumn.
CLEMSON’S NO. 4 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:
VIC BEASLEY, JUNIOR, DEFENSIVE END
The talk of the spring, specifically on defense, Vic Beasley positioned his name to be heard when all those television personalities and media outlets rattle off their favorite breakout candidates – you know, names you haven’t heard who you’ll know very soon based on their play. (So, ahem, let this publication beat those others to the punch.) While Clemson coaches reeled in the excitement from bubbling over, Beasley clearly has great promise, not to mention opportunity to significantly improve this defense. The trick will be finding an ideal playing weight (230? 250?) for Beasley, looking for the ideal blend of power and quickness.
Corey Crawford was supposed to be that fly in the ointment, that monkey in the wrench of opposing offenses in the past. And Crawford indeed will still have that chance. In a way, because Crawford holds name recognition, he’ll probably still field the most attention from offensive lines … until Beasley forces them to focus primarily on him. With a marquee matchup to open the season, why not start from day one to make the nation take note of the Tigers, and not just because of offense?
Position: Defensive end
Height/weight: 6-3, 225
Hometown: Adairsville, Ga.
Last year: Just 20 tackles, but an eye-popping eight sacks as a reserve – including a 3-sack performance against North Carolina State
Previously: No. 12 Jr. DT Grady Jarrett, No. 11 Jr. LB Stephone Anthony, No. 10 Fr. TE Jordan Leggett, No. 9 Jr. RT Gifford Timothy, No. 8 Fr. CB Mackensie Alexander, No. 7 Soph. FS Travis Blanks, No. 6 Jr. WR Adam Humphries, No. 5 Jr. DT Josh Watson
COMING FRIDAY: No. 3