No. 2 Clemson will be without defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship vs. No. 1 Alabama. The trio were suspended for the Cotton Bowl national semifinal win over No. 3 Notre Dame on Dec. 29 after testing positive for the banned substance ostarine.
“As requested by these student-athletes, Clemson filed notices of appeal with the NCAA,” athletic director Dan Radakovich said. “We will continue to work with the three student athletes and their legal representatives over the coming weeks to prepare the appeals. Neither Clemson, Galloway, Giella nor Lawrence anticipate having further comment on this matter until the appeals have concluded.”
The three players will be able to travel with the team to Santa Clara, California, later this week.
Lawrence is one of the top defensive tackles in the entire country. The 6-foot-4, 350-pound true junior had 37 tackles, 7.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks in 13 games this season, and proved to be one of the most disruptive forces in the game. His work inside created plenty of advantageous situations for the the rest of the talented Tigers front seven.
Without Lawrence in the Cotton Bowl, the Tigers defense fared very well. The Irish ran for just 88 yards and 2.51 yards per carry, notched eight tackles for loss and sacked quarterback Ian Book six times. As was the case in the semifinal, Albert Huggins and Nyles Pinckney will be expected to fill in for Lawrence vs. the Crimson Tide.
The Tigers and Crimson Tide will tee it up in Levi’s Stadium at 8 p.m. on Monday night with the national title on the line.