CLEMSON -- Before the Clemson Tigers’ matchup with Ohio State to open the College Football Playoff last month, sophomore tight end Braden Galloway hadn’t laced up his Nikes for a snap since October 2018.
Just before the postseason, Galloway was suspended for one year by the NCAA for testing positive for ostarine, a type of supplement known as a selective androgen receptor modulator that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Galloway has maintained that he “did nothing wrong.”
The year away from active competition on the field included a lot of time in the weight room and keeping up to speed on the Tigers’ playbook, Galloway said, noting he thinks the time off made him a more solid player.
“I definitely do, and I think power hour is a big reason (for) that,” Galloway said. “We were lifting every day for an hour, an hour and 15 minutes, and then going to practice. I definitely feel like it made me a stronger player. Also, just watching film on my own when nobody else was in there, talking to (wide receivers) coach (Tyler) Grisham, different things like that.”
He said Clemson has a group of people in place that helped him to stay up to the speed on his technique and the team’s on-field strategies.
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”There’s a support staff there that was making sure that I was up to date with the offense even though I wasn’t a part of the offense, and that’s the biggest thing,” Galloway said.
He said his love and appreciation for the game of football also increased during the time off.
“I would definitely say that, just sitting on the sideline and being able to watch the crowd and smaller interactions between players, staff and trainers,” he said. “It was just the joy and appreciation that everybody in the facility and on this team has for one another, and it’s amazing.”
Not being part of real-game competition helped him to notice other elements about the team that, in his mind, make Clemson a special place to play.
“Taking a step back and knowing I didn’t have to perform on the field, I was able to look at other things like relationships and seeing how people were treated, and it was just an amazing thing to see,” Galloway said.
“I appreciate this opportunity and, just, it can be taken away from you in a heartbeat, whether it’s an injury or no matter what you’re doing,” he said.
Galloway, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, only snagged five catches for 52 yards in three games last year.
Zach Lentz is a Clemson University alumnus who got his start working with the Tigers basketball team from 1999-2004. Now a resident of Orangeburg County, he reports on Clemson sports as a correspondent for The Times and Democrat. He also serves as a co-host of Solid Orange, seen at 11 p.m. Wednesdays on WACH FOX 57 in Columbia. He is editor of www.SI.com/college/Clemson