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Multiple Clemson Tigers players failed drug tests with Saturday’s College Football Playoff matchup with Notre Dame looming.
Head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters Monday that defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, offensive lineman Zach Giella and tight end Braden Galloway failed the tests due to the presence of a “sliver” of ostarine, which is a banned substance under the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s guidelines.
Jori Epstein of USA Today noted there will be “more clarity to come with B sample later in week.”
According to Dan Murphy of ESPN.com, sources told colleague Mark Schlabach that Clemson does not expect to have all three players available for the Notre Dame game.
“This particular substance can come from anything,” Swinney said when explaining the players were surprised by the news, via Murphy. “And these three players have no clue—in fact, they thought it was a joke when I called them. They have no clue how this has gotten in their system. It could come from hair products. It could come from a cream. It could come from protein. It could come from a product that you order or buy online that you think there’s nothing wrong with it. It could be anything. Literally, it could be a drink—something in a drink.”
Lawrence has been part of a stout Clemson defensive line that helped the Tigers finish fourth in the country in yards allowed per game and second in points allowed per game this season. He was named first-team All-ACC along with defensive line teammates Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins.
Lawrence checked in as the No. 20 overall prospect and No. 6 defensive lineman on the latest big board from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller.
His presence along the defensive front is one reason why the Tigers are 12.5-point favorites over Notre Dame, per OddsShark. The Fighting Irish struggled to pull away from the likes of Ball State, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh and USC on the way to an undefeated season, while Clemson won the ACC title and is looking to reach the CFP National Championship for the third time in four years.
But if Lawrence can’t play following his failed drug test, it would change the dynamic of Clemson’s defense.
Galloway tallied five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in the 2018 season, while Giella provided depth along the offensive line.
Murphy noted returning players would face a one-year suspension if they are not cleared by the appeals process.