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Clemson first-round prospect Dexter Lawrence fails PED test

ACC Championship - Clemson v Pittsburgh

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 01: Dexter Lawrence #90 of the Clemson Tigers reacts against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, a likely first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft, has tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance.

Lawrence, who is such an elite talent that he likely would have been a first-round pick after his freshman year if NFL rules had allowed him to enter the draft that year, was one of three Clemson players to test positive for ostarine, a banned substance that is sometimes used as medication for muscle-wasting diseases and osteoporosis. The other two players, backup offensive lineman Zach Giella and freshman tight end Braden Galloway, are not draft prospects.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he is still hoping that Lawrence will be allowed to play in Clemson’s College Football Playoff game against Notre Dame on Saturday.

“We’re just kind of at the mercy of the process,” Swinney said. “And then there’s an appeal after that, but that doesn’t really help with this game. . . . And so we’ll deal with it accordingly, hope for the best, hope that the B-sample will come back and they’ll be cleared to play. But, if not, we treat it as an injury. We’ve got to get ready to move forward. And our goal has not changed, just to play the best four quarters of the season.”

Swinney suggested that none of the three players ingested ostarine intentionally.

“This particular substance can come from anything,” Swinney said. “And these three players have no clue -- in fact, they thought it was a joke when I called them. They have no clue how this has gotten in their system. It could come from hair products. It could come from a cream. It could come from protein. It could come from a product that you order or buy online that you think there’s nothing wrong with it. It could be anything. Literally, it could be a drink -- something in a drink. . . . We’re going to do everything we can to figure out if it is in the system. Heck, I don’t know. I mean, who’s to say that it is there? I mean, that’s what we’re being told, but there’s -- they all will have legal representation, and there will be a process to go through to find out.”

Lawrence will be subjected to further PED testing as part of the pre-draft process.