No. 6 Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
Previous ranking: NR
Making the case for Beasley: His numbers make the case for him. Beasley, whose decision to return to school for his senior season was a huge boost to the program, led the ACC in sacks with 13 and finished second in tackles for loss with 23. His sacks-per-game were third-best in the nation and his tackles for loss per game ranked second. He led the nation in tackles for loss per game against teams that finished the season with a winning record (19 in eight games). He was also 10th in the nation with four caused fumbles.
Beasley had a strong game against Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl with four tackles for loss and a sack, and was a big reason the Tigers defeated the Buckeyes, 40-35. It was the most tackles for loss in a bowl game for a Clemson player and tied for the third-most tackles for loss in any BCS Bowl game dating to 1999.
Beasley was also a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, which is given to the top defensive end in college football, and was a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and the Lombardi Award.
Beasley achieved all this in his first year as a starter. He played just 304 snaps over his first two seasons. Beasley has 21 career sacks and needs just eight in 2014 to break the school record of 28 held by Michael Dean Perry and Gaines Adams.