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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Sam Moeller: The 12th Man

Sam Moeller

Representing the 12th Man, Sam Moeller is nearing history.

If everything goes according to plan, Moeller will break the record for most consecutive games played by a 12th Man, who wears jersey No. 12, on Oct. 3 against Mississippi State with 31. 

During the Jackie Sherrill era in the 1980s, A&M was quickly rising as a national powerhouse. Sherrill decided to form his kickoff team with only walk-ons from the student body to represent the 12th Man on the field. What he created was a dominant kickoff team that rarely let opponents outside of the 20-yard line. Later, R.C. Slocum changed the policy to allow only one player to be represented as the 12th Man, who is traditionally a walk-on. 

Now, roughly 30 years later, that student is Moeller. In 2011, Moeller made the team as a walk-on but redshirted his freshman year. He has since seen action on kickoffs and said he loves representing the 12th Man on the field. 

“It’s always exciting to run out there,” Moeller said. “Kyle Field is one of the greatest venues out there. It’s definitely a huge honor. I love doing it. I feel extremely blessed to be able to do that … It’s definitely quite something running out there, seeing the fans waving the towels … It’s unlike any other place we’ve ever been.”

Before last season, Moeller received a scholarship as a pat on the back for his hard work and accomplishments. Because the position of the 12th Man is only reserved for a walk-on — who traditionally does not get scholarships — Moeller receiving one stirred up some discussion among Aggies on social media outlets.

“I’ve gotten some messages on Twitter about it,” Moeller said. “I try not to let it bother me. But I’ve worked pretty much as hard as I could day in and day out to earn one … it’s [Coach Sumlin’s] decision. I’ve asked him even when I was put on scholarship if I was still going to be the 12th Man, and he said ‘Yeah, you’ve earned it.’”

As a redshirt senior, Moeller said he has seen a lot in his football career. From blowing second-half leads such as in the 2011 season, to defeating No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Moeller said he’s loved his time at Texas A&M. 

Moeller said he sees a lot of young talent on the team now, and he is happy to pass on wisdom from his experience to the younger players.

“I tell them to just take it slow,” Moeller said. “It is a lot at first, especially against Arizona State, you could just see it in their eyes … but I just tell them to take it slow and do what you’ve been practicing for weeks. Just to try and calm them down a bit.”

Moeller said he can see the younger guys taking his advice to heart. He said he is proud of men like Christian Kirk, who has already basked in the limelight with highlight reel plays in his first two career games. 

The quicker the freshmen get thrown into the fire, the more experience they gain as A&M prepares for the SEC schedule, Moeller said.

“The young guys are definitely stepping up big time,” Moeller said. “Going into the season, [Coach Banks] really emphasized these young guys. A lot of our starters are on special teams, but as we get into the heart of the schedule goes on, they aren’t going to be able to play special teams. Right now, we are really emphasizing getting those young guys in there.”

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