The Clemson Tigers found out one day before their departure for Santa Clara they won’t have DT Dexter Lawrence and his two other suspended teammates available for Monday’s National Championship Game. Despite that fact, they go into their fourth consecutive year playing Alabama as prepared as they can be.
The strengths of Clemson start with the hunger of Trevor Lawrence, who has answered all the questions about whether or not a freshman can take the reins of this offense and further its development. Lawrence won the ACC Rookie of the Year Award, and threw for three touchdowns against Notre Dame on a day he was barely tested.
We asked Lawrence at Clemson Media Day how he normalizes the process of getting ready for his first National Championship Game:
Lawrence’s calm and cool demeanor remains one of his greatest characteristics, and offensive lineman John Simpson believes it permeates to the entire offense:
The Tigers have more than National Championship Neophytes headed to Santa Clara, as multiple players will experience a title game with ‘Bama for a second or third time and some have been there for all four matchups.
Christian Wilkins embarks on his fourth matchup with the Crimson Tide knowing it will be his final collegiate game, meaning it won’t be hard to empty the tank:
Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell witnessed the Tigers’ first matchup with Alabama as a redshirt, and played sparingly in the 2016 National Championship victory due to injury.
He’s eager to contribute to a game that could even the series between the two schools in the modern era, but said Wednesday the key to winning is not to settle old scores:
There’s no greater expert on the relationship between Clemson and Alabama than the player who made the most important catch in Tigers history.
Hunter Renfrow has caught 22 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns against the Crimson Tide, but none bigger than the grab that won Clemson its second national championship in Tampa.
He’s had to endure all the questions about the catch since then, saying it’s changed his life for the better, but his storybook Clemson career will end on Monday in Santa Clara.
We asked him Monday how long it will take him to reflect on his time when the Tigers and when it will seek in that the end is near:
Once Clemson arrives Friday in California, they will practice two days at San Jose State University before Monday’s game at Levi’s Stadium.
Clemson and Alabama meet Monday night at 8:15 ET on ESPN. We will provide an extended version of SportsTalk during the game to allow fans to react to Monday night’s proceedings along with analysts who will be a part of our coverage of the Tigers that evening.