For the first time in NFL history, Texas A&M football’s 12th Man has been selected in the NFL Draft and it’s a glorious moment.
Most NFL fans know what the term “Mr. Irrelevant” means. It’s the term given to the last pick in the last round of the NFL Draft. Most often, that player doesn’t make a name for himself in the league. Occasionally that player turns into a regular start. Texas A&M football fans may have just been given our own version of Mr. Irrelevant when the Houston Texans literally drafted the 12th Man in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
For those who don’t know, the 12th Man is a tradition that started back in the early 20th century. Long story short, Texas A&M students stand for every moment of every game in case they are called upon to join the football team, such as E. King Gill did so many years ago.
It eventually led to a new tradition for the football team. Jackie Sherrill started putting only walk-ons on his kickoff coverage team and it turned out to be a brilliant strategy. The unit was Top 5 in yards allowed on returns for five straight seasons. R.C. Slocum altered the tradition a bit, putting one walk on with the unit who would wear the No. 12. That player leads the Aggies out onto the field every Saturday.
Cullen Gillaspia spent four years as the 12th Man, including 38 consecutive games played. He was turned into a fullback for Fisher (after spending his first years mostly on special teams) and shined as the lead blocker for Trayveon Williams’ record-setting season. One thing you may not know about Gillaspia though — he’s incredibly fast for his size. Players used to say he was one of if not the fastest player in pads on the team. His shuttle and 3-cone drill times from Texas A&M’s Pro Day would have been near the best if he was invited to the NFL Combine.
The Texans are getting a guy who could definitely line up at fullback if they want, but will absolutely be a weapon on special teams. Thanks and Gig Em, Texans.