Gerry Broome/Associated Press
Clemson star Dexter Lawrence is hoping to clear his name after a failed drug test left his status for Saturday’s College Football Playoff semifinal against Notre Dame up in the air.
Per ESPN.com’s Jake Trotter and Dan Murphy, the defensive tackle said he doesn’t know how a banned substance showed up in his drug test:
“I’m not the type of guy to do a selfish act like that. I have too much pride. I love this team and my family too much to put a substance like that in my body. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know how it got there. I was raised different. If I did do it, I’d own up to it. All I can say is I honestly don’t know what happened, where it came from.”
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced Monday the NCAA notified Lawrence, offensive lineman Zach Giella and tight end Braden Galloway that they had traces of ostarine, a muscle growth substance, in their drug tests.
Clemson is awaiting the result of Lawrence’s B sample, which Trotter and Murphy noted could come at some point Thursday. Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported Dec. 24 that it would be an “unlikely result” for the B sample to clear Lawrence.
Per Zach Lentz of the Times and Democrat, Lawrence said his original test came back .02 percent positive for the banned substance.
If the secondary sample comes back positive, the Tigers will have to play Notre Dame without Lawrence.
Forde and Thamel reported that for Lawrence to be reinstated before the game, he would have to register a clean test with the NCAA, something they described as a “virtual impossibility.”
“I know that I have no control on what the B sample result will be. I’m just here to support my teammates and try to be the leader that I’ve been all year,” Lawrence told reporters. “Just helping the [mentality] of the whole team just be better and bring us closer together and things like that.”
Lawrence anchors Clemson’s run defense. The junior star was named to the All-ACC first team in 2018 after recording seven tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
If the Tigers are forced to play without Lawrence, senior Albert Huggins will likely step into the starting lineup against Notre Dame.
Clemson and Notre Dame will play in the first College Football Playoff semifinal in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. ET.