GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander could miss the College Football Playoff Championship Game against Alabama on Monday night with a hamstring injury, giving the Tigers two key defensive starters whose availability is in jeopardy.
Alexander's playing status will be a gametime decision, the school confirmed to ESPN. Tigers star defensive end Shaq Lawson will be a game-time decision as well. Lawson told reporters on Saturday that he was confident he would play after suffering a minor knee injury in the Tigers' 37-17 CFP semifinal win over Oklahoma. Alexander tweaked his hamstring in the same contest.
If either Lawson or Alexander, or especially both, are unavailable to play, Clemson's ability to defend the pass could be drastically impacted. Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker played arguably his best game of the season against Michigan State in the other CFP semifinal, completing 25 of 30 passes for 286 yards, and a pair of touchdowns without an interception. If he plays, Lawson will spend much of his night facing Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson, only a sophomore but one of the best in college football.
Like Lawson, Alexander downplayed any potential hamstring issues at media day for the game on Saturday morning. He also spoke of his anticipated matchup with Alabama freshman Calvin Ridley, one of the top freshman receivers in the nation. Alexander, a third-year sophomore, is considering applying for early entry into the 2016 NFL Draft.
Although Alexander hasn't made an interception this season, his coverage skills are well-respected in the ACC. He was named first-team All-ACC by a vote of the league's coaches, and is considered one of the program's best draft prospects, for the 2016 draft or otherwise.