CAPTION: Faith Academy of Marble Falls graduate Grayson Poage adds another high honor to his resume by being elected one of five Texas A&M University Yell Leaders. Courtesy photo
When looking at the Texas A&M Yell Leaders during the Aggies’ season opener against New Mexico, fans may see a familiar face from Burnet County.
Faith Academy of Marble Falls graduate Grayson Poage was elected to be a Yell Leader this school. It is believed he is the first Burnet County resident to hold the honor.
“Growing up, both of my parents went to Texas A&M,” he said. “I saw the yell leaders, and I thought it was really cool. My freshman year of college, I definitely got a close look at them. They’re all in the corps of cadets, and they’re genuine, wise guys. I like what they are and what they stand for. As a freshman I thought it would be really cool to be one.”
Last year, the 2021 Faith Academy graduate was Reveille X’s handler and got a better view of the Yell Leaders’ responsibilities.
“I got to be around them a lot and at the football games, we share a locker room with them,” he said. “I talked to them and showed some interest after that.”
While he remained committed to being Reveille’s handler, his school work and other activities, Poage began putting himself in position to be elected to be a Yell Leader.
Yell leaders are chosen from the corps of cadets. Those who want to be one go through a process. The university has a total of five, and three are seniors and two are juniors. That means the juniors return for a second year, so only three openings are available.
The best way to be chosen by the student body, after the corp of cadets decides on who will be on ballots, is to run as a block. Poage’s block received the most votes.
“During Christmas break, I prepared,” he said. “In January and February, I campaigned. The entire university comes together and votes. That took place in March.”
Leading up to the vote, Poage and his other four block mates went to different campus organizations to meet other students where they introduced themselves and shared why they wanted to be Yell Leaders.
“We shared our Aggie stories of how we got here, why we love A&M and what we can see going forward,” he said.
While the yell leaders may be most visible to the public during football games, Poage said they attend hundreds of events that include other ball games, fundraisers and banquets.
“Football is definitely the big time,” he said. “There’s Midnight Yell practice Friday nights. We go to new student conferences for incoming freshmen and transfers. There’s about 30 of them. We go to orientation camps for transfers and freshmen. There are nine of those. During the summer, we travel around the state. We go to Aggie Clubs and Aggie Moms’ Clubs. There’s a lot of travel going to the different clubs to support them. There’s Howdy Week and a bunch of social events to welcome people here. There’s over 400 in a year – that’s more than one a day.”
When Texas A&M University began, it was an all-male institution, so the students relied on classmates to get crowds going. That’s how the Yell Leaders began.
“There were no females to be cheerleaders,” Poage said. “They sent guys on the field to provide entertainment. (Today) it’s a high position of leadership. There are six positions of leadership, and one is the student body president. We do a lot of stuff. It’s really awesome. Yell leaders are a spirit organization. We fill a role.”
It’s the latest high honor for Poage, who said he thoroughly enjoyed being Reveille’s handler.
“It was such a fun experience,” he said. “I really bonded with her personally. She lives in the same dorm as me.”
He believes this year also will have some tremendous memories, too.
“It’s so fun being able to meet people from all walks of life,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. The fun part is being able to welcome the new students. You step into a student body of 20,000 and can feel overwhelmed. I want to help.”
The Aggies kickoff the 2023 season against New Mexico at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, at Kyle Field. The game is televised on ESPN.
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CAPTION: Yell Leader Grayson Poage greets Texas A&M University football head coach Jimbo Fisher. Courtesy photo