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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

The journey of Seth Small: Friday night lights to big city brights

The+journey+of+Seth+Small%3A+Friday+night+lights+to+big+city+brights

As a Texas high school football player, playing under the bright lights of your high school football stadium may feel like the best moment of one’s life.
As an Aggie, kicking a field goal to upset Nick Saban and then-No. 1 Alabama in front of 109,835 fans is a high that will last a lifetime.
As a Christian man, growing a relationship with God and marrying the love of your life in college could be the answer to one’s prayers.
Or just maybe, hearing your name called at the NFL Draft could top it all.
For former Texas A&M place-kicker Seth Small, Class of 2022, when deciding on the best moment of his life, he could choose all of the above.
The molding of Small as an NFL-bound athlete started in the not-so-small town outside of Houston: Katy. During the 2015-16 football season, Small was enrolled at Seven Lakes High School and watched the Katy Tigers win its eighth Texas state championship. The following year, he transferred to the program “where champions are made,” led by high school football coach Gary Joseph.
“[Katy is] about kids that are unselfish,” Joseph said. “The work ethic and work habits that this program has have made a lot of good football players. Those kinds of kids are going to be successful in life, not just as football players, but as people.”
When entering the doors of the Katy Field House, a red “Home of Champions” mural catches one’s attention, but not for long. The dozens of gold trophies displayed on the back wall reminds all athletes, coaches and guests of the program’s tradition of excellence and who developed within those walls.
Above the trophy case reads Katy Football’s motto: “When excellence becomes tradition, greatness has no limits.”
Joseph, a Texas High School Football Hall of Fame member, is the mastermind behind the Katy Tigers’ operation. In his 18 seasons as head coach, Joseph has won five state titles and accumulated an astonishing record of 241-23, or a 91.2 winning percentage.
Small is just one product of this nationally recognized program. Hanging on the walls outside of the team room are framed and signed NFL jerseys from former Katy Tigers, like New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton, former NFL offensive tackle Jorge Diaz, former A&M, NFL and CFL corner Terrence Frederick, former San Francisco 49ers center Eric Heitmann and former Tennessee Titans corner Ryan Mouton, who all have stood in Katy’s halls.
“The thing that stands out more than anything about [Small] is what kind of good kid he is,” Joseph said. “He always carried himself with class. He never made excuses. He was always one of those kids that wanted to sit there and work extremely hard to get better at what he did. He never tried to get out of anything.”
Even with the abundance of talent that has gone in and out the doors of Katy High School, Joseph said there is one moment with Small he will never forget.
“It was his senior year when we were playing The Woodlands, and he kicked a field goal on the last play of the game to win the game,” Joseph said. “He had already missed two earlier in the game, and he came over to the sidelines after they called a timeout to try to ice it and he said, ‘Coach, I got this.’ Just the poise and confidence he had in himself stands out more than anything.”
The 3-star kicker graduated from Katy in 2018 and moved 83 miles away to College Station.
Against Louisiana-Monroe his freshman year, Small got his first start after then-senior and starting place-kicker Daniel LaCamera injured his non-kicking leg in the previous game.
“[Small] … the way he stepped up as a freshman. He hit those field goals, and I mean hit them,” coach Jimbo Fisher said in 2018. “He did a great job and played really well.”
Ever since then, Small has yet to slow down.
During his time as a student-athlete, Small has made history, scoring more points as an A&M football player than anyone ever has before — 377. He also holds the A&M record for all-time career field goals made at 71, including two he will never forget. Small kicked a pair of historic field goals to upset then-No.4 Florida in 2020 and then-No. 1 Alabama in 2021 in walk-off fashion.
Just as Small did to Joseph, he told Fisher the exact same words before the kick against Alabama.
“When I went out there to meet him, he said, ‘I got you, coach,’” Fisher said. “That’s a big kick in a big situation.”
Stepping up to kick the 29-yard field goal to roll past the Tide, Small repeated Psalms 23:1 in his head: “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want.”
Seth nailed the kick and sent Kyle Field into a frenzy, sparking the internet viral video of his wife, Rachel Small, leaping over the barrier to join her husband in celebrating one of the biggest moments of his life.
“Y’all probably saw how I felt,” Rachel said on her YouTube channel. “I immediately cried, and at some point in my crying, decided it would be a good idea to just hop the fence of Kyle Field.”
Yet, Seth said taking down Alabama was not the best moment of his life.
“It was the third best moment of my life,” Seth said. “Right after accepting Jesus into my heart, my true Lord and savior, and then after getting married to my wife this summer. I rank this No. 3. This one takes the cake from Florida.”
Seth met his now-wife Rachel through an A&M new student group chat his freshman year. Three years later, in July 2021, the couple married and started sharing their love story and testimony through their following on social media.
The couple’s relationship is built around faith. Seth and Rachel have found a second home at the Restoration Church Bryan, where they spend their Sunday mornings growing their relationship with God and each other. Amid the craziness of the NFL Draft process, Seth said Rachel reminds him of the greater reason behind it all.
“My wife has been such a supportive rock for me,” Seth said. “To have her remind me of [the] truth and knowing that my work doesn’t come from how I perform, but who I’m doing this for.”
So, if or when Seth is drafted to an NFL team, it may not be the best day of life, but it’s simply because he has already discovered his true mission in life.
Playing on Sundays is his dream, but praying on Sundays is what Seth lives for.

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