The Texas A&M Aggies opened up spring practice without two key defensive starters from their 2013 roster. Following the arrest of linebacker Darian Claiborne and defensive tackle Isaiah Golden, the team suspended the pair indefinitely at least through the conclusion of their criminal investigation. For Claiborne, it’s the second arrest in the last three months which should give Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies reason to worry about the talented young defensive star in 2014.
During his freshman season in 2013, Claiborne appeared in 12 games for the Aggies, starting nine of them, and finishing third on the team in tackles as he was named to to the SEC All-Freshman team. He was part of an extremely young defensive front for Texas A&M last season that tended to get gashed more often than not. Claiborne was expected to be a leader on the team in 2014 as they took a step forward defensively next fall to try and make a run at an SEC title but now that role is in jeopardy.
This is the second time in three months that Claiborne has found himself in trouble with the law. Back in December, the freshman was arrested for marijuana possession and was suspended for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. This time, Claiborne was arrested on a noise violation while sitting in a car in an apartment complex with Golden who was found with marijuana on his person. While he avoided a second drug possession charge this time, the fact that he was in another situation around it is troubling.
For the Aggies to rely on Claiborne defensively, they have to be able to trust that he is capable of making good decisions on and off the field. So far, Sumlin hasn’t been able to trust the talented defender to make good choices. Now, Claiborne must sit and watch with no timetable for his return. Will he be able to recover from his latest run-in with the law and become the leader that Texas A&M needs him to be?
If Claiborne can keep his nose clean and develop into the player he was recruited to be then the Aggies will have a force to be reckoned with along the defensive front in 2014 so be sure to get your Texas A&M football tickets now.