No. 1 Clemson already knew it was going to be without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence and starting linebacker James Skalski for Saturday's showdown at No. 4 Notre Dame. But the list of notable absences for the game grew again Wednesday when head coach Dabo Swinney revealed that the Tigers are also expected to be without defensive tackle Tyler Davis and linebacker Mike Jones Jr.
"I was hoping that I'd feel good about them today, but they're just not quite ready. Unfortunately," Swinney said.
It will be the third straight game and fifth overall that Davis has missed this season after he earned second-team All-ACC honors as a freshman last season. The former four-star prospect from Apopka, Florida, racked up an impressive 45 tackles, including 6.5 sacks, from his interior position last season and was regarded as one of the top returning defenders in the ACC this season.
Jones is also a sophomore and former four-star prospect who made valuable contributions last season. Though he was not a starter as a freshman, Jones appeared in all 15 games and accumulated 22 tackles including four for loss and a forced fumble. He's made 15 tackles and picked up an interception in five games this season as he progressed into a starting role.
Swinney did not elaborate on the types of injuries either player is experiencing, but their absences are noteworthy for a defense that has shown some cracks the past two weeks ahead of a matchup with the Fighting Irish that carries ACC title and College Football Playoff implications.
Clemson trailed Boston College 28-10 at halftime on Saturday after giving up 13 first downs and 209 total yards in the first half. The Tigers came back to win 34-28, but were hoping to have players like Davis and Jones back this week to bolster a defense that has been plagued by injuries all season.