Texas A&M defensive lineman Isaiah Golden has withdrawn from school for the time being, but is expected to rejoin the Aggies at some point during the summer.
Sam Khan Jr. of ESPN reported on the updated status for the tackle, who made an immediate impact for Texas A&M as a freshman last season. Head coach Kevin Sumlin said it was the right decision despite the missed practice time:
He played about every snap last year. Certainly everybody would want him here at practice, but I think what's more important is that he just gets himself together and get back in the right frame of mind and be ready to go summer school-wise.
Golden missed spring practice due to a suspension stemming from an offseason arrest. Back in February, he was charged with marijuana possession after an incident also involving teammate Darian Claiborne, who received a noise violation, and both were suspended, according to the ESPN report.
Sumlin didn't provide a similar outlook on when or if Claiborne would return to the team.
Do you think Golden still has a bright future with the Aggies?
Golden was a 4-star prospect and ranked just outside the top 100 nationally when he picked the Aggies over several other interested programs, based on 247Sports' composite rankings. He proceeded to make his presence felt right away.
He finished his freshman campaign with 32 total tackles, three of which were for a loss. Between gaining that valuable experience and his still untapped potential, there was a good chance he was going to take the next step forward in 2014.
Obviously, this situation adds a little more uncertainty to the situation. In the meantime, Robert Cessna of AggieSports.com reports Zaycoven Henderson and Justin Manning are two players who have stepped up along the line:
Texas A&M's defensive line is missing a couple key cogs during spring drills, but freshman Zaycoven Henderson and redshirt freshman Justin Manning are making the most of their snaps in the middle of the four-man front.
Sumlin seemingly hasn't given up on Golden working his way back into the fold for next season. That said, exactly what he must do in order to have the suspension lifted and whether it could carry into the start of what would be his sophomore campaign remains a mystery.
Golden definitely flashed some serious potential during his first season with the Aggies. His combination of size and athleticism is precisely what it takes to shine as a lineman in the SEC. He just needs to further improve his technique.
When that process could continue should become more clear in summer.