After failed drug tests, Clemson confirms that Dexter Lawrence and two others are suspended for the Cotton Bowl
Lawrence, the centerpiece of the stout Tigers' defensive line, and two teammates failed drug tests of 'B' samples
The status of Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella has been in doubt ever since news surfaced this week that their "A" samples of an NCAA-administered drug text revealed trace amounts of ostarine. The NCAA informed Clemson on Thursday that the "B" samples produced the same result, and the trio will miss Saturday's Cotton Bowl national semifinal between the second-ranked Tigers and No. 3 Notre Dame.
"This evening, Clemson athletics received confirmation from the NCAA of suspensions for tight end Braden Galloway, offensive lineman Zach Giella and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, all three of whom will be unavailable for Saturday's game against Notre Dame," Clemson said in a statement via The State. "The athletic department will have no further comment on the matter this evening as it considers all of our options, including appeals."
It's a big blow to a Clemson defensive line that is one of the best in recent college football history. Lawrence has 37 tackles, 7.5 for loss, one sack and is widely regarded as one of the most disruptive players in the country. Even when he isn't making tackles, opposing offensive lines and offensive coordinators are forced to pay plenty of attention to the 6-foot-4, 350-pound junior.
Coach Dabo Swinney addressed Lawrence's situation during Cotton Bowl media day prior to the ruling coming down.
"As far as our team, you know, we move forward as if, like I said Monday, it's an injury," he said. "If they say he can play, boom, that will be a cherry on top. But we've got a bunch of good players. And Albert Huggins is a co-starter for us anyway. I mean, he's a great, great talent. And I don't have any doubt that he'll step in and do a great job for us, as will Nyles [Pinckney] and Jordan [Williams].
Huggins and Pinckney each have 3.5 tackles for loss on the season, and Williams added three more.
Galloway has five catches for 52 yards and one touchdown on the season. Giella played 114 snaps in 11 games this year for the Tigers.
Clemson and Notre Dame will square off at 4 p.m. in the first of the two national semifinals on Dec. 29.
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