A letter from the NCAA left three Clemson players “absolutely baffled,” a school official told USA TODAY Sports, when it arrived Thursday.
The message: Standout defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, backup offensive lineman Zach Giella and freshman tight end Braden Galloway’s routine drug tests were positive for what head coach Dabo Swinney described Monday afternoon as a “sliver” of the banned drug ostarine. Their eligibility for Saturday’s College Football Playoff matchup with Notre Dame is in question.
The players thought Swinney was playing a joke on them.
“I’ve had guys fail drug tests before,” Swinney said from AT&T Stadium ahead of Clemson’s first Cotton Bowl practice. “Without a doubt, (they) have not intentionally done anything to jeopardize their opportunity or this team. I want to make that real clear.