Photo via Mark Goodman, TexasHSFootball.com

During Texas A&M’s time in the spotlight at SEC Media Days on Wednesday, head coach Kevin Sumlin broke some bad news about his team regarding returning starting cornerback Nick Harvey saying per Brian Perroni of 247 Sports, “I don’t forsee him being able to go” for the 2017 season.

Harvey had injured his knee during spring practice and his status had been kept relatively quite until Wednesday, where Sumlin said that the former Fort Bend Travis standout had surgery almost immediately.

It’s a major potential blow to a secondary that has talent but not much experience behind them. From a production standpoint, Harvey was one of the top returning defenders on the team, finishing with 66 tackles, 11 pass break-ups and an interception in 2016.

To make matters more difficult, two more defensive backs, Victor Davis and Noel Ellis, were no longer listed on the roster as of Wednesday. Granted, none of those losses are surprises, but it’s still losing depth at a position of importance for Texas A&M.

UCLA transfer Priest Willis is slated to start opposite of Harvey this season but with Harvey’s status in question for the season, who is going to end up replacing him? Here are some potential candidates that could step in for defensive coordinator John Chavis.

Charles Oliver, Sophomore, Fairfield

The rising sophomore saw action as a true freshman last season, finishing with eight tackles, three pass break-ups and making two starts. The 6-2 corner is big and physical but does have good speed and was also able to get his feet wet towards the end of last season playing in the team’s last two regular season games and the bowl game. He’ll be asked to take on a whole lot more this season.

Roney Elam, Redshirt Sophomore, Newton

The Newton product redshirted his first year in College Station but did see a fair amount of action in 2016, playing in 12 games and recording seven tackles. Like Oliver, Elam is also listed at 6-2 and the former four-star prospect has the potential to be a playmaker if given his opportunity. Expect him to be a big part of the solution as well.

Antonio Howard, Independence C.C. (Kansas), Miami, FL

The junior college transfer is the final Aggie to enroll in the Class of 2017 and will be looked on to step in right away. He will have three years to play three in College Station and the cornerback originally from Miami is also experienced with starting a full season for a team. The question is how quickly will be able to catch on to Chavis’ system. If he can pick it up quickly, he’ll be in the mix to contribute as well.

The silver lining is that Harvey has not used his redshirt yet, which could mean a comeback for him in 2018. Sumlin mentioned that it was a possibility and that they would re-evaluate once fall camp starts. Either way, the Aggies must find a way to replace a top returner that was expected to do big things this season.

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