Speaking before assembled media on the eve of spring practice, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced that four players—four potentially important players—have been suspended for the season opener at Georgia.
According to Larry Williams of Rivals.com, the players in question are defensive end Corey Crawford, offensive tackle Shaq Anthony, offensive guard David Beasley and defensive back Garry Peters:
Dabo saved bombshell for end of his opening statement: DE Crawford, OT Anthony, OG D. Beasley and DB G. Peters suspended for opener vs. UGA.— Larry Williams (@LarryWilliamsTI) March 4, 2014
Swinney did not elaborate much on what the players did wrong, but did say that they "broke (a) team rule" as opposed to getting in some sort of legal trouble, according to B/R's Greg Wallace:
Dabo: "They've not been arrested, not rob a bank, 4 guys I care about a whole lot, broke team rule. As result, going to miss a game."— Greg Wallace (@gc_wallace) March 4, 2014
Crawford is the biggest loss of the bunch. As a junior in 2013, he started all 12 games, finished third on the team with 10.5 tackles for loss and had a team-high 16 quarterback pressures, according to his official team bio.
He made for a good pairing across the line from All-American Vic Beasley and was named an All-ACC honorable mention by conference coaches. Even with Beasley returning and Georgia losing its star quarterback, Aaron Murray, Clemson will miss the pressure Crawford provides.
Beasley and Anthony were potentially important pieces on the offensive line, as well. According to Aaron Brenner of the Post and Courier, Beasley appeared in all 13 games and started seven at left guard, while Anthony appeared in 10 games and started three at right tackle.
However, Swinney said that even if he hadn't been suspended, Beasley would not have entered spring practice first on the depth chart at guard because he needs to "refocus," according to Wallace:
Dabo says "regardless of suspension" Beasley would not have been first-team going into spring. Needs to refocus.— Greg Wallace (@gc_wallace) March 4, 2014
Peters took a step back in 2013 after starting five games in 2012, mostly appearing in a reserve role after battling injuries.
Still, according to his official team bio, he played 49 snaps and had four tackles and a team-high two pass breakups in the Week 1 win over Georgia.
With Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley, Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley all returning to the Bulldogs' group of receivers, Peters would have provided valuable depth and maybe even more than just that.
Clemson travels to Athens to play Georgia on Aug. 30.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT