Lawrence subsequently used social media to confirm the positive test, and he echoed Swinney’s assessment in declaring that his symptoms were “relatively mild.”
“The only thing that hurts is missing an opportunity to be with my teammates this weekend and play the game I love,” he wrote. “I hate that I can’t be there, but I’ll be watching from isolation and pulling for our guys while I wait for the opportunity to rejoin the team.”
An August report by the ACC’s Medical Advisory Group called for football players to be tested three times each week during the season and for athletes who test positive to spend 10 days in isolation. To return to practices and/or games, an ACC athlete with a positive test must gain medical clearance from team physicians, including a cardiac evaluation, after the isolation period.
The 10 days Lawrence must spend in isolation could put in jeopardy his availability for Clemson’s biggest game of the season, a Nov. 7 showdown with No. 4 Notre Dame.
Per the ACC’s protocols, Clemson will have to conduct contact tracing and quarantine as necessary for other players who have been in close contact with Lawrence.
The Tigers’ backup quarterbacks are a pair of freshmen, D.J. Uiagalelei and Taisun Phommachanh.
Assuming Lawrence is absent for at least the matchup against Boston College, it will be the first missed game of his decorated career. A heralded recruit out of Georgia, Lawrence immediately won Clemson’s starting job and became the first freshman quarterback to lead his team to a national championship since Oklahoma’s Jamelle Holieway in 1985. Lawrence guided the Tigers back to the championship game after the 2019 season, but they were routed by LSU in January.
Through six games this season, Lawrence was putting up his best numbers yet, completing 70.7 percent of his passes for 1,833 yards, 17 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 178.6 rating. The top Heisman contender said in September that this would be his final college season but seemed less certain of that Tuesday, when he told reporters: “My mind-set has been that I’m going to move on, but who knows? There’s a lot of things that could happen.”
A number of college football games have been postponed or canceled because of positive coronavirus tests, contact tracing and quarantines that have depleted rosters. On Wednesday, No. 9 Wisconsin canceled a game this weekend against Nebraska after six Badgers players and six coaches tested positive. That group included Coach Paul Chryst and, according to reports, starting quarterback Graham Mertz. Under Big Ten protocols, Mertz and other players would have to sit out at least 21 days.
Lawrence, 21, was a leading figure in an August campaign by a number of college football players to push against calls for the sport to shut down amid the pandemic.
“People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play,” Lawrence wrote then on Twitter. “Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract [the virus]. … Football is a safe haven for so many people. We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football."
President Trump, who for months has advocated for economies to reopen and for sports events to resume, said in August that he had spoken with Lawrence, as well as with LSU Coach Ed Orgeron, about the issue. Lawrence, whom Trump described as “very smart,” wanted to “play football,” said the president, adding, “Let ’em play.”
The world of college football was rocked this month when Alabama announved Coach Nick Saban tested positive for the coronavirus. However, he tested negative three straight times shortly after that and was on the sideline that week for the second-ranked Crimson Tide’s next game, a win over then-No. 3 Georgia.
Alabama’s team physician, Jimmy Robinson, said at the time that according to the SEC’s coronavirus protocols, the three negative tests allowed Saban’s initial result to be deemed a “false positive.”