Katy's Cullen Gillaspia Makes History as A&M's First '12th Man' Drafted by NFL


KATY MAGAZINE NEWS

APRIL 28, 2019

By Veronica Miko

On Saturday, Taylor High School graduate, Cullen Gillaspia, made history becoming the first Texas A&M 12th Man to be drafted into the NFL.

Katy-grown Cullen Gillaspia’s dreams came true when the Houston Texans drafted him with their final pick in the 7th round (220th overall). The future Texans fullback is 6′ 2″ and weights 236 pounds.

Staying in Texas

Gillaspia expressed his excitement in a tweet after being drafted: "Couldn’t be happier! Ready to get to work! I’m staying home Houston!"

J.J. Watt, defensive end for the Texans, welcomed his fellow walk-on in message after the draft occurred. Watt was a walk-on at the University of Wisconsin before being drafted by the Texans.

In a press conference, Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien talked about the team’s new addition.

“We’ll start him off on offense as a fullback and he was an excellent special teams player there (and) also was a 12th Man at Texas A&M. I think everybody understands what that means there,” O’Brien said.

The Houston Texans tweeted a welcome message to Gillaspia as well.

Supportive Katy Family and Friends

Gillaspia's family is thrilled to see their son achieve his goal of playing on the Texans. "We are so excited and proud of him," says mom Joy Gillaspia, a teacher in Katy ISD. "He has worked really hard and we are thrilled he is going to be in Houston!"

Gillaspia's reaction to news of the Houston Texans draft. (Courtesy of Joy Gillaspia.)

Gillaspia graduated Taylor High School in 2014 with a handful of football scholarship offers from smaller schools, but declined in favor of attending Texas A&M.

The Man in Aggieland

In 2015, Gillaspia walked on as a linebacker and redshirted that year. Gillaspia received a scholarship to the school and became Texas A&M’s coveted 12th Man during his sophomore year. The Aggie's 12th Man tradition dates back almost 100 years. (Learn more about the 12th Man at https://12thman.tamu.edu.)

From 2016 through 2018, Gillaspia wore the heralded number 12 jersey, and served as a team captain in 2017. Under head coach Jimbo Fisher, Gillaspia also played fullback in 2018, serving as lead blocker for running back Trayveon Williams.

In his final game with A&M in last December’s Gator Bowl, Gillaspia made Aggie history. He carried the ball three times for 20 yards. And on his last carry, he became the first player to score a touchdown wearing the number 12 jersey. Texas A&M won the game, crushing North Carolina State 52-13.

Gillaspia finished his Texas A&M career with 25 tackles, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble and two blocked kicks. His versatility on the field increased as he added five carries for 33 yards, one rushing touchdown, and five receptions for 52 yards. Gillaspia, a jack-of-all-trades on the football field, was awarded the Special Teams Most Impactful Award last season.

Gillaspia joins the Houston Texans who finished 11-5 last season. He will suit up for his first game on August 8th against the Green Bay Packers.

“I’ve been Houston Texans since day one,” said Gillaspia. “They were my favorite team growing up. I’ve seen everyone and this is where I want to be. Houston is home.”

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