KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
January 3, 2019
Jennifer Lynn Greenway and Katrina Katsarelis
Katy's own Cullen Gillaspia, Texas A&M's 12th Man, bolts into the end zone making a history making touchdown as the final play of his college career.
Cullen Gillsaspia, one of the most popular students on the Texas A&M campus, made history at the New Year's Eve Bowl Game to the delight of fans across the U.S.
With 22 seconds left in the game against North Carolina State, Gillaspia raced into the end zone and took the opportunity to score the final touchdown. This makes Gillaspia the first 12th Man in Texas A&M history to score a touchdown. To make it even more meaningful, the touchdown would be Gillaspia's final play and game at Texas A&M.
A Story Book Ending for a College Career
"It’s hard to put into words how proud we are of Cullen", says mom Joy Gillaspia, a teacher in Katy ISD. "I have loved watching him play and his final play for the Aggies was a story book ending!"
Gillaspia played football for Taylor High School and although he received a few football scholarship offers his senior year from smaller schools, he declined the offers in favor of just being a student at Texas A&M. A man of heart and determination, Gillaspia became a walk on for A&M, received a scholarship, and became 12th Man during his sophmore year.
Gillaspia's biggest cheerleaders are his family and they couldn't be more proud of the man he has become. "I was more nervous than surprised about the last play," says mom Joy, a Texas A&M graduate. "I knew if they gave him the ball he would find a way to score. When he crossed the goal line we (my husband Danny and son Carson) jumped up and down and cried. It was a wonderful moment."
Gillaspia, 23, is a fifth-year player, and a former walk-on who set a goal to be named the 12th Man. His goal was realized in 2016. He is a former linebacker who played primarily on special teams, and was moved to fullback in March when a need arose for the position. The 12th Man is a term given to the player who carries the flag for the team, wears the #12 jersey, and exemplifies Aggie qualities such as character and heart.
“It is such a big honor to represent this university as the 12th Man,” Gillaspia said in a news conference back in 2016. “That had been my goal all of off season. That is what I had been working towards.”
The 12th Man at A&M tradition dates back to 1922 with a player named E. King Gill. Click here for the story behind the 12th Man tradition.
Before the Gator bowl game, Gillaspia posted on Instagram "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Gillaspia remained thankful for his Texas A&M football experience regardless of what position he played.
Gillaspia is a 2014 graduate of Taylor High School in Katy ISD. During his time at Taylor, he was an all-district linebacker and return specialist. He was also a standout baseball player.
The Gillaspia's are very touched by all the love and support for Cullen and the entire family.