According to Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle, Texas A&M lost a key piece to its defense, as it was confirmed by head coach Kevin Sumlin Thursday that safety Justin Dunning is out for the year with a knee injury.
Texas A&M sophomore safety Justin Dunning is out for the season w/ knee injury, Kevin Sumlin confirms.
— Brent Zwerneman (@BrentZwerneman) August 19, 2016
In fact, Dunning tore the ACL in his right knee and will need roughly a year of rehabilitation before he can think about taking the field. He injured his knee during practice this week.
More from Zweneman of the Houston Chronicle:
Sumlin had said early in camp he was counting on Dunning to contribute in the defense’s nickel package, along with fellow safety Donovan Wilson. Safety is considered one of the team’s deepest positions, and junior Noel Ellis likely will earn more playing time in Dunning’s absence.
Dunning, a 6’4”, 225-pound sophomore safety from Whitehouse, Texas is coming off a freshman campaign in which he recorded 15 tackles and one interception. He played in 11 of the 13 games for the Aggies last year.
Texas A&M is coming off a 2015 season in which it went 8-5 overall and 4-4 in SEC play, where it came in fifth place in the SEC West Division. The Aggies ended their season with a loss to Louisville in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
This could potentially be a make-or-break season for the Aggies, as Sumlin is on the proverbial hot seat. Then again, Sumlin is doing a great job thus far in regards to his 2017 recruiting efforts.
Texas A&M will open its 2016 when it hosts UCLA on September 3, 2016.