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Sam Mathews Named the 12th Man

Texas A&M University has a long-standing tradition of the 12th Man, which dates back to 1922. The legend of E. King Gill being called down from the stands to stand ready for a depleted Aggie team has inspired generations of Aggies to stand throughout the games to show their willingness to be ready for their team. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher has named Sam Mathews as the 12th Man for the 2023 season.

Mathews is now responsible for representing all 71,000-plus current students and 574,714 former students that make up Texas A&M. He is just the fifth student-athlete in program history to hold the season-long honor despite the century-long tradition. Previously, the honor has been given to Sam Moeller (2013-15), Cullen Gillaspia (2016-18), Braden White (2019-20) and Connor Choate (2021-22). Mathews' love for Texas A&M began when he attended his first game at Kyle Field on November 21, 2009, against Baylor. He stood in the stands, soaking everything in from the marching band to the Yell Leaders commanding all 82,106 fans in the crowd.

Mathews' dream of playing for Texas A&M came true after he transferred from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where he spent one year and redshirted. However, the transition was not an easy one, as obstacles took him on a path to nearby Blinn Junior College. Mathews sat out of football for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, focusing on his grades and staying in shape before enrolling at Texas A&M for the 2020-21 academic year. He watched games from the stands as a student during the 2019 and 2020 football seasons, imagining and believing in his dream. Despite these obstacles, Mathews' passion to chase a bigger dream never diminished as he always stood ready and waiting for his opportunity.

Following a walk-on tryout in the spring of 2021, he earned a spot on the practice scout team before getting his name put up on the special teams depth chart where he found a home. During the 2021 season, he played in nine games and made his first career tackle against New Mexico before earning the Special Teams Most Improved Award at the annual team banquet. In 2022, Mathews continued to showcase his effort and toughness throughout fall workouts as he began to earn opportunities on defense. Eight games into the season, the Aggies were hit with the flu-bug, and Mathews was called on for his first career start at linebacker on November 5 against Florida. Mathews finished the day with a career-high six tackles, including four solo takedowns.

Coach Fisher has praised Mathews, saying that he is a terrific young man who does everything right. He has good size and delivers a lick when he closes on a ball carrier. Having been around him for the past couple of years, he busts his tail in everything that he does, and that is why he will be successful in whatever he chooses to pursue. From watching his first game in the stands at nine years old to earning a roster spot for the Fightin' Texas Aggies, Sam Mathews has embodied the Aggie football mantra of toughness, effort, and discipline. On September 2, he will run onto Kyle Field, the most prideful Aggie, ready to represent all those who came before him.

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