Auburn's resurgent 2013 season was dealt a difficult blow on Saturday, when, according to reports, starting safety Joshua Holsey was declared out for the season with a torn ACL.
According to Bryan Matthews of 247Sports:
Sophomore safety Joshua Holsey, who started the Tigers first six games at boundary safety, tore the ACL in his knee at the end of Thursday’s practice and is out for the season, a source close to Holsey told AuburnUndercover.
Holsey is the third safety Auburn has lost this year. Junior Erique Florence left the team in the spring and transferred to Troy. Senior Demetruce McNeal was dismissed from the team in August following an arrest, and transferred to West Alabama.
Holsey is one of the best secondary players on Auburn's defense, starting all 12 games at cornerback as a true freshman last year before winning the boundary safety job this year.
In six games, he has 17 tackles and an interception, but he has made an impact beyond that with solid coverage and know-how on the back end.
The knee injury couldn't come at a worse time for the Tigers, which travel to play a road game at Texas A&M this Saturday. Even a full-strength secondary is at a loss to stop Johnny Manziel, but a depleted one is close to hopeless.
Hosley's loss will be felt in the final two weeks of the season too, when Auburn takes on Aaron Murray (Georgia) and AJ McCarron (Alabama) in successive weeks. That makes three potential All-American quarterbacks left on Auburn's schedule in the wake of Hosley's loss.
In his place, senior Ryan Smith or junior walk-on Trent Fisher will need to step into the lineup and play sound football on the boundary. Starting field-side safety Jermaine Whitehead will have a bigger role to play too, as his margin for error has eradicated.
The Tigers are paper-thin at the safety position, so if any of those players struggle or get hurt, this could get ugly fast.