Texas A&M's efforts to rebound from its disastrous 2013 defensive showing suffered a major setback Tuesday as Kevin Sumlin dismissed promising sophomore defenders Darian Claiborne and Isaiah Golden from the team.
"These two individuals have failed to meet the high expectations and standards that we have for our football players and as representatives of this university," Sumlin said in a statement. "These two players have exhibited a pattern of behavior that we will not tolerate at Texas A&M."
The local Eagle reported Tuesday afternoon that both Claiborne and Golden were arrested Tuesday on three charges each of aggravated robbery. The incident in question dates to May 23. Bail is reportedly set at $120,000 for each.
According to police, three College Station men reported that they had been planning to buy marijuana off of Claiborne and Golden before one of them brandished a handgun and the other took the trio's money. Per the Eagle, one man also told police he had been hit in the face with the handgun.
Claiborne and Golden were both also arrested following a February incident in a Bryan, Texas, parking lot, with Golden charged with marijuana possession and Claiborne an excessive noise violation. Both charges were misdemeanors. The arrest was Claiborne's second in a span of three months following his own possession charge in December, one that resulted in his suspension for the Aggies' Chick-Fil-A Bowl victory over Duke.
Claiborne was a key figure for the Aggies' beleaguered 2013 defense, starting nine games at linebacker and leading all SEC freshmen with 89 tackles. He also led the Aggies with seven tackles-for-loss.
Golden was the rare true freshman starter on the defensive line, appearing in 11 games and making six starts at tackle. He recorded three tackles-for-loss and 30 tackles overall.
Despite Claiborne's and Golden's efforts, the Aggies still finished 111th in FBS total defense and 96th in scoring D -- rankings that must improve in the post-Johnny Football era if A&M is going to contend for an SEC West title. Losing a proven difference-maker in Claiborne and a high-ceiling top-100 recruit like Golden even before they reach their second seasons in College Station is a staggering blow and a major hurlde for defensive coordinator Mark Snyder.