Aggies suspend three defensive starters

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — An already thin Texas A&M defense will without three starters for the first two games of the season as De’Vante Harris, Steven Jenkins and Gavin Stansbury were suspended.

Those three – along with receiver Edward Pope – were punished for violating Texas A&M athletics department rules and regulations. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said the decision was made earlier in the week but was announced just before kickoff of the 52-31 victory over Rice Saturday.

All four will be eligible for the Sept. 14 game against Alabama.

“We addressed it,” Sumlin said of the suspensions. “One way to address it is to play the young guys we have. Like I said, it’s difficult for those guys and for us as a team, but the good news is we’re getting a lot of experience for a bunch of young guys that we’re going to need for the rest of the season.”

Stansbury, a junior, is a starting defensive end while Jenkins is a starting linebacker and Harris a starting corner. Jenkins was a starter last season and is the team’s leading returning tackler.

A&M went into the game already thin defensively because of suspensions. Defensive lineman Kirby Ennis and backup safety Floyd Raven Sr. sat out the game following off-season arrests. Starting cornerback Deshazor Everett also missed the first half because of an arrest in the same incident as Raven.

Senior defensive back Toney Hurd Jr. was proud of the way the Aggies responded defensively as they used 11 true freshmen.

“The older guys have made a few mistakes, and the coaches handled it accordingly,” he said. “I feel like when they get back, we’ll definitely have a few veterans back, but right now we have to play with what we have. They did a pretty good job once they got their nerves out.”