Clemson’s Shaq Lawson is nursing an injured knee but expects to play in title game

Capital One Orange Bowl - Clemson v Oklahoma

Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson reacts after a sack in the CFP semifinal game against Oklahoma.

(Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)

Clemson might not have to face Alabama without All-American defensive end Shaq Lawson.

Lawson, who is nursing a knee injury suffered during the Orange Bowl, said Saturday that there was “a very good chance” he would play in Monday night’s College Football Playoff championship game.

“I have been doing pretty much everything I can to get strength back in my knee,” Lawson said during media day. “I have been having a busy week with treatment. I am in the training room probably about two hours a day and getting two treatments per day.”

Lawson would be integral to controlling an Alabama offense that features Heisman Trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry and quarterback Jake Coker.


Lawson said his family named him after former NBA center Shaquille O’Neal.

“I came out long and tall,” said Lawson, listed at 6 feet 3 and 270 pounds.

“I thought I was going to grow up to play basketball, but I came to realize I wasn’t going to be big enough, so I just switched the game.”

Ready for the spotlight


Clemson running back Wayne Gallman was not among the players, including Henry and Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson, who were selected to be posted at individual podiums.

That seemed to be fine with Gallman.

The third-year sophomore is coming off a 150-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance in the Tigers’ Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma. Gallman has rushed for 1,482 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Gallman acknowledged that playing in a game featuring Henry provides extra motivation.

“That’s always a thought in the back of my head,” he said, adding, “That’s always a factor. Every running back in the country wants to be up there.”

Repeat performance?

Coker raised his profile by playing nearly mistake free in the Cotton Bowl.

The fifth-year senior, who transferred to Alabama from Florida State last season, passed for 286 yards and two touchdowns.


“I felt really good, it was really solid,” he said. “But unless we win this one, then that doesn’t mean as much. We’ve got to go out here and do our thing.”

Dance contest

It was media day, so questions ran the gamut, including one posed separately to coaches Dabo Swinney of Clemson and Nick Saban of Alabama about who had better dance moves.

Swinney could not make a determination.

“I don’t know that we have enough video evidence to determine that,” he said. “It’s hard to say.”

Saban indicated there was a clear winner.

“Dabo has got me there by a long shot,” Saban said. “I used to be able to step through it pretty good back in the day, but I’m a little older now and gotten a little more patient and reserved in my old age.

“I think that’s reflected in how I go about my dance routines, as well.”


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