Texas A&M fans were blindsided before Saturday's season opener against Rice, as the team announced two-game suspensions for four important players.
According to Aubrey Bloom of the Temple Daily Telegram, Steven Jenkins, Gavin Stansbury, DeVante Harris and Ed Pope were all deemed inactive before kickoff:
Whoa, A&M just announced two game suspensions four Steven Jenkins, Gavin Stansbury, Devante Harris and Ed Pope.— Aubrey Bloom (@AubreyBloomTDT) August 31, 2013
And per ESPN's Brett McMurphy, the reason behind the suspension is an unspecified violation of team rules:
Texas A&M suspends De’Vante Harris, Steven Jenkins, Edward Pope & Gavin Stansbury 1st 2 games for violating athletic department rules— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 31, 2013
Excluding Pope, a rotational wide receiver, the other three were all listed as starters on Texas A&M's depth chart. Stansbury was listed as the starting end opposite Justin Obioha, Jenkins as the starting weakside linebacker, and Harris as one of the starting cornerbacks.
If the depth chart holds true to form, freshman defensive end Tyrone Taylor, freshman linebacker Darian Claiborne and senior cornerback Tramain Jacobs stand poised to take their spots.
The trio of starters suspended for the opener join defensive backs Deshazor Everett and Floyd Raven, as well as senior defensive tackle Kirby Ennis, on the bench. Everett and Raven were both involved in an altercation this summer that led to suspensions for the Rice game, and Kirby Ennis was suspended following a gun charge arrest. Everett will sit out for just one half, while Raven and Ennis are out for the whole four quarters.
Without Everett, Raven and Harris in the lineup, the Aggies will be without 75 percent of their starting secondary—at least until halftime, when both Everett and a certain poster-boy quarterback will enter the game.
Much of the hoopla surrounding Week 1 has concerned Johnny Manziel, the Heisman-winning quarterback who was suspended for the first half. Will he need to lead a comeback when he takes the field? With so many defensive starters missing, it's certainly possible.
The Aggies play Sam Houston State at home next week, which will serve as the second game of the suspensions.