The final ruling on the three Clemson players facing a suspension for the Cotton Bowl came down on Thursday, and it is bad news for the Tigers.
Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella will miss the matchup against Notre Dame after failing drug tests.
“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 Athletics Director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. “The athletic department will have no further comment on the matter this evening as it considers all of our options, including appeals.”
All three players had a trace of ostarine found in their systems. Clemson was first notified a week ago that the players had failed a drug test, and the school was awaiting the results of follow-up “B samples.”
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Lawrence is the biggest loss for the Tigers as the junior defensive tackle is a three-time All-ACC performer. He was named first-team All-ACC each of the past two years.
Lawrence had 44 tackles this season with 7.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. The North Carolina native also leads Clemson with 15 quarterback pressures. Lawrence has started all 13 games this season and is likely to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
Tigers coach Dabo Swinney expects the Tigers to be fine without Lawrence. Albert Huggins is expect to move into a starting role, while Nyles Pinckney and Jordan Williams will also receive added playing time.
“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 and Jordan,” Swinney said. “So just more opportunity for those guys. No different than any other position. If you have an injury or somebody can’t play for whatever reason, you get the next guy ready.”
Galloway and Giella are lesser known players, but they have also contributed throughout the 2018 season.
Galloway, a freshman, has played in 12 of Clemson’s 13 games and has five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Giella, a junior, has played in 11 of Clemson’s 13 games this season.
The players are expected to appeal to try to gain eligibility before the national title game or for the 2019 season.
Lawrence is expected to turn pro, but Galloway and Giella are now facing a year-long suspension.