College Station, TX (Sports Network) - Texas A&M announced the suspension of four players for the first two games of the 2013 season prior to Saturday's opener against Rice.
Linebacker Steven Jenkins, cornerback De'Vante Harris, defensive end Gavin Stansbury and wide receiver Edward Pope will sit out both Saturday's contest and next week's matchup against Sam Houston State for what the university referred to as "violating [athletic] department rules and regulations."
Jenkins, Harris and Stansbury were listed as starters on the Aggies' depth chart. Two other projected defensive regulars -- tackle Kirby Ennis and free safety Floyd Raven -- had previously been suspended for the Rice game due to off-field incidents, with starting corner Deshazor Everett forced to miss the first half of Saturday's tilt for disciplinary measures as well.
The seventh-ranked Aggies, of course, were also without quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel for the first two quarters of Saturday's clash. The star sophomore agreed to the half-game penalty on Wednesday following a meeting with the NCAA in regards to revelations that Manziel autographed various memorabilia pieces for brokers that were later sold.
After a thorough investigation of the matter, the NCAA found no evidence that Manziel received money in return for the autograph signings. However, he was found to have violated a rule stating that student-athletes cannot use their names or likeliness for commercial purposes.
Junior Matt Joeckel started in Manziel's place under center.