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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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12th Man cashes in on NIL landscape

Texas+A%26M+football+12th+Man+Sam+Mathews+hosted+an+autograph+signing+at+Champion+Pizza+in+College+Station+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+9.
Luke White
Texas A&M football 12th Man Sam Mathews hosted an autograph signing at Champion Pizza in College Station on Friday, Feb. 9.

The emergence of name, image and likeness in college athletics has opened the door for student-athletes to partner with local businesses, and that includes Texas A&M football’s 12th Man.

Graduate defensive back Sam Mathews got his feet wet in the NIL landscape with an autograph signing at Champion Pizza in College Station on Friday, Feb. 9. The signing provided A&M fans, including his grandparents, the opportunity to have cards, hats, jerseys and mini football helmets signed while taking photos with Mathews as well.

“I am kind of relatively new as far as doing these autograph signings,” Mathews said. “This is a first experience for me. I’ve done other smaller events, but this is my first autograph signing.”

Mathews isn’t A&M football’s first 12th Man to partner with a pizza restaurant, as deep snapper Connor Choate of the 2021 and 2022 seasons teamed up with Dollar Slice Club on Northgate. Mathews said a love of pizza brought the two parties together.

“It’s a great cornerstone of A&M,” Mathews said. “It’s kind of in a spot where it’s easy to skip by, but I’m really close with the owner. It was a great opportunity for me to come out here and kind of promote their pizza and hang out with the 12th Man again.”

Before getting a chance to personally meet him, Aggies were first acquainted with Mathews in 2022 when A&M took on Florida in Kyle Field. With injuries and illness keeping a number of players out for the game, Mathews, a walk-on, stepped up at linebacker and recorded six tackles.

In a full circle moment, Mathews closed out his college career with a team-high 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception in the 2023 Texas Bowl against Oklahoma State. Like the 2022 matchup with the Gators, the Aggies faced serious depth issues and turned to Mathews on defense.

The League City product’s unorthodox path to A&M began in Arkansas at Harding University, where he was a quarterback in 2018. Mathews transferred to Blinn College in Bryan as a student in 2019 and 2020 before joining the Maroon and White as walk-on over the past three seasons.

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About the Contributor
Luke White
Luke White, Sports Editor
Luke White is a junior telecommunication media studies major and sport management minor from Round Rock, Texas. He has served as head sports editor since May 2023.
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