DALLAS — As difficult as this week has been for Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, it has been just as challenging for the rest of Clemson’s defensive line, who are also some of Lawrence’s closest friends.
They have had to watch him go through a nightmare of a week as he tested positive for a trace of ostarine, a type of steroid commonly found in everyday items and something Lawrence knows he did not ingest intentionally.
Defensive end Austin Bryant is hurting for his suspended teammate who will not get the opportunity to participate in Saturday’s College Football Playoff semifinal Cotton Bowl game against Notre Dame at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
However, Bryant knows who Lawrence is as a person and nothing can change his true character.
“Just know who you are,” Bryant told The Clemson Insider when asked about any words of encouragement he has given Lawrence this week. “And he does know who he is. He knows he’s not a bad person.
“I know he would never do anything to jeopardize his career here or beyond. I’m really not worried about the situation as much as it may seem because we all know what type of person he is. An unfortunate thing happened and it is what it is.”
Despite the heavy distraction the situation has caused, the Tigers still had great practices throughout the week and are confident heading into Saturday’s game against the Irish.
“The overall mood has been great,” Bryant said. “We’ve had some great practices this week since we’ve been here. A lot of energy, up-tempo.
“Everybody is just ready to play. You can get that sense of urgency when you step on the practice field.”
During the off season this spring Bryant along with his “Power Ranger” brothers, defensive end Clelin Ferrell and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins announced they were all returning to school for one more year, where they would be joined by Lawrence, who is a year younger than the three.
Being in Dallas a day away from a semifinal game and possibly a shot at another national championship plays a major role into why those three decided to stay for another season.
“It’s great (being in the Cotton Bowl),” Bryant said. “It’s definitely one of the reasons we chose to come back; to have a chance to be in the same position that we’re in.
“But this time hopefully with a different result in the playoff game. We’ve put a lot of hard work into it and into this season so hopefully come Saturday, that will show.”