The College Football Playoff begins tomorrow when the Number 2 Clemson Tigers faces off against Number 3 Notre Dame in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
But Clemson will be without three of its players—including starting defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence—after the trio failed a drug test at the worst possible time.
The team—of course—appealed but after the three young men’s B samples also showed trace amounts of a banned substance, the suspensions were upheld.
"This evening, Clemson Athletics received confirmation from the NCAA of suspensions of 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 director of athletics Dan Radakovich said. "The athletic department will have no further comments on this matter this evening as it considers all of our options, including appeals."
The Tigers had been preparing for the matchup assuming Lawrence would not play. The junior, who is widely projected as a future first-round NFL draft pick, has not practiced with the team since Clemson learned of the initial positive test last week.
Lawrence was excused from Thursday's media day but asked to talk with reporters anyway. He said he had no idea how the substance got into his system and denied ever taking performance-enhancing drugs.
"We get tested regularly and we know not to do anything stupid or selfish like that," Lawrence said. "That's why this is such a shock."