Wowzer. The most high profile college football athlete to test positive for COVID-19 is officially Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. The Heisman front-runner and almost assured top overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft has tested positive for COVID-19 nine days out of Notre Dame and Clemson’s showdown inside Notre Dame Stadium.
First things first. Hopefully, Lawrence experiences a speedy recovery and has no lingering effects. Clemson confirmed Lawrence’s positive test on Thursday night, stating that the quarterback is experiencing mild symptoms so this isn’t a case of an asymptomatic positive case.
This news is still very much breaking, so many details are unknown such as when did Lawrence test positive. Was it today or was it earlier this week? That much we don’t know right now, but that detail could very much determine whether or not Lawrence is available next weekend when the top-ranked Tigers come to town.
UPDATE: Reports now say that Lawrence’s positive test came yesterday which would place the 10th day from the positive test on November 7. AKA Gameday. That means that that only way for Lawrence to be available for the Notre Dame game is to fly to Notre Dame on the day of the game and then play with no practice or preparation.
ACC rules stipulate that a player must be out for a minimum of 10 days following a positive test. Notre Dame and Clemson play in 9 days, making that timing of his positive test pretty important. If Lawrence’s test came back positive yesterday or today, he would not be allowed to play. If it was Tuesday, he could still play. Again, that is assuming he is fully recovered by then. If he is experiencing mild symptoms currently, playing a game in 9 days could be a stretch even if he is technically allowed to play the game.
Notre Dame and Clemson have been on a collision course for a showdown of potential top-4 teams next weekend since the season started. Both teams have done their part so far to ensure the game features a pair of unbeatens with just one foe in each of their ways – Boston College for Clemson and Georiga Tech for Notre Dame.
Another foe is now standing in the way of what would be the biggest game in Notre Dame Stadium in 15 years, and it’s the COVID-19 virus.
Lawrence’s positive test could also cast doubt on the game altogether. Lawrence likely comes in close contact with many a player on the Clemson roster, so he might not be the only positive test. We saw at Notre Dame just how easy an outbreak could happen after a couple of positive tests.
Should the game still happen and should Lawrence be forced to miss it, Clemson’s backup quarterback is DJ Uiagalelei – a 5-star true freshman who was the top-ranked pro-style quarterback in the class of 2020. He will almost certainly make his first career start this weekend against Boston College unless further positive tests force the postponement of the contest.
Brian Kelly has not been shy about talking about the Irish have been looking ahead to the Clemson game for a while now – something head coaches seldom admit to. Now, Kelly will have to be on high alert for the news of Lawrence’s test to not be a further distraction for his team as they prepare for their second road trip in a row this weekend.
There will be a lot more to follow on this one over the next few days.