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Kellen Mond is the leader Aggie Football needs this year. If you can’t handle that, please go away.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Texas Bowl- Oklahoma State v Texas A&M Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s been three years and a few long days now since a shaky freshman came off the bench at The Rose Bowl to take part in one of Aggie Football’s most monumental collapses. It was not an auspicious beginning.

That was Kellen Mond’s learning year, and it was a tough one. Tossed into the fire with a lame duck offensive coordinator who ran a questionable system, Mond still managed to show sparks of brilliance in that first season.

He only got better in year two. His home performance in the second half against Clemson was superstellar.

There was a little bit of a dropoff in 2019, due in no small part to the massive loss of offensive production (Trayveon Williams, Jace Sternberger, etc.). Nonetheless, we saw a very even-keeled, cool customer in the pocket last season, avoiding the types of mistakes that can let games get out of hand when a team is struggling to put points up. Even so, Mond caught a good deal of grief from the fanbase, as is always the case with a quarterback in a struggling offense. “He’s not vocal enough.” “He’s not a leader.” I’ll be the first to admit that I shared that sentiment in part: I thought Kellen Mond was a capable and mostly efficient quarterback, but he wasn’t quite in a place where he could put a team on his back and carry it when needed.

Enter 2020.

Whatever else this year has been, it’s been historic. Kellen Mond has heard and felt the pain of his fellow students and citizens and risen to the occasion. You may not agree with him, and history will judge you accordingly for that. But unless you are completely devoid of maturity and human empathy like those eager to boo him, you cannot deny that he has shown initiative and leadership, and has conducted himself in a manner that should make all Aggies proud to call him the same, even in the midst of chaos and hate.

None of that translates into football skills, obviously. It had no affect on his reads, his footwork, or anything else. But something like this will rally a team behind a player, and as a quarterback, having a team behind you 100% is essential and irreplaceable.

Texas A&M has not had a four-year starter since Kyle Field was Astroturf and we played in the Southwest Conference. In a year chock-full of uncertainty in every direction, it’s good to know that we’ve got the most capable man possible calling the shots on the field. Have a hell of a season, #11. Get ready to update the record books.