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Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence officially out for Cotton Bowl


Clemson defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence will forgo his senior season and declared for the NFL Draft on Wednesday. File/Gwinn Davis/Special to The Post and Courier

ARLINGTON, Texas — Dexter Lawrence, the star Clemson defensive tackle who failed an NCAA-administered drug test last week, has officially been ruled ineligible for the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. His B sample drug test corroborated the NCAA’s initial findings for Ostarine in his system.

“This evening, Clemson Athletics received confirmation from the NCAA of suspensions for 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 athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. “The athletic department will have no further comment on the matter this evening as it considers all of our options, including appeals.”

The run-stopping, pass-rushing lineman, a projected 2019 NFL first-round draft pick, was notified last week that a trace of ostarine, an illegal performance-enhancing drug, was detected in his urine. He said Thursday he would ultimatley be at peace with whatever happened  

"I know that I have no control on what the B sample result will be. I'm just here to support my teammates and just try to be the leader," Lawrence said. "I can say 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 even think about putting 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. But all I can say is I honestly don't know where it comes from or how it got there. There's nothing I can really do about it."

Lawrence and Clemson have maintained that they have no idea how the drug got into Lawrence's system. Two other Clemson players — freshman tight end Braden Galloway and redshirt junior offensive lineman Zach Giella — also tested positive.

Ostarine is not approved by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency nor the World Anti-Doping Agency and is only found in illegal products.

Clemson launched an internal investigation in an effort to gain some answers and Lawrence said when Clemson coach Dabo Swinney first notified him he failed the test, he initially was flabbergasted.

"I was in shock. I was looking at my phone like, 'Are you crazy? What's wrong with you for asking me something like that?'" Lawrence said. "Then the next thing you know, he told me I tested positive for something I'd never heard of or know where to get it.

"And so at first I was shocked. But talking it over with my mom, praying about it, talking it over with coaches and stuff here, I came to more peace."

Lawrence does not currently have legal representation, but said he is prepared to retain it  for a potential national championship game.

Asked how he would respond to critics, Lawrence — who said he was not required to come to media day but wanted to show he was a leader — kept it simple.

"I have too much pride in myself. I love my team and my family too much to do an act like that," he reiterated. "I’m not that type of guy to put that in my body. I don’t even know how — I don’t even know what I would use it for. I'm young, I’m still moving and going. That would be my answer to them."

Follow Grace Raynor on Twitter @gmraynor

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