Dexter Lawrence is now a New York Giant, which means he’s no longer a Clemson Tiger.
Lawrence was selected in the first round on Thursday night, continuing a successful career that saw the former 5-star recruit from Wake Forest, N.C., help Clemson to three ACC championships, three College Football Playoff berths and two national championships.
Of course, “help” is used loosely in regards to the second national championship, as Lawrence was suspended for PED use for both of Clemson’s Playoff games last season. The Tigers dominated without him, beating Notre Dame and Alabama by a combined 74-19, but the lasting effect of that suspension was not over. Lawrence has maintained he has no idea how the banned substance — ostarine — made its way into his system, and Dabo Swinney told the Charleston Post & Courier it could have been administered to him by a member of the Clemson training staff by mistake.
Backing up Lawrence’s claim is that he was not the only Tiger suspended for the club’s Playoff run, only the most important. Tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella were also suspended when a random NCAA drug test found trace amounts of ostarine in their systems as well.
“I do want to know how it got in my system and where it came from,” Lawrence said in February. “But right now, they are still doing their research to see where exactly it came from, and they don’t know where right now.”
Clemson is appealing the suspensions to the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, but in the meantime the school feared a possible lawsuit by Lawrence in the event his draft stock fell due to the suspension.
As we know now, that did not happen.
The Giants took Lawrence at No. 17 overall. Last year’s No. 17 pick, former Florida State safety Derwin James, signed a rookie contract worth a sum of $12.4 million, which included a $7.1 million signing bonus.
“We think we’re in the clear now,” a Clemson athletics official told the Post & Courier on Saturday.
It would have been tough for Lawrence to directly prove a possible draft day tumble was directly caused by a PED suspension outside of his control, but that seems to be a moot point now.