Some athletes have destinies. Before they’ve even been conceived, their parents know they’ll be on a football field or basketball court playing for the same team one of them did.
It’s why we care so much about LeBron James Jr., Zaire Wade and Arch Manning, who, by the way, looks poised to be the nation’s next great quarterback.
After the Aggies lost running back Jashaun Corbin to a season-ending hamstring injury last September and running back Vernon Jackson to a career-ending neck injury that same month, A&M freshman running back Isaiah Spiller took the reigns in the backfield.
Spiller was part of A&M’s monster recruiting class that finished No. 3 in the country. The former four-star prospect didn’t enter college with as lofty of expectations as Bronny Jr. or the next Manning prodigy, but he does have a legacy to fulfill.
Isaiah Spiller’s Dad Fred Spiller
The Aggies leading rusher’s father, Fred Spiller, also played for the Aggies back in the early 2000s. A tight end, Fred Spiller was forced to quit the sport because of a back issue in 2001 while playing under legendary A&M coach R.C. Slocum.
Thankfully, his son has carried on his namesake in College Station and made an instant impact as a freshman.
In 13 games, Spiller racked up 946 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He eclipsed that yardage in just nine games in 2020, totaling 993 yards and seven touchdowns. For those counting at home, he’s also posted back-to-back seasons of 1,100 of more yards from scrimmage.
In his first-ever college football game, he rushed for 106 yards on just seven carries versus Texas State. Spiller scored his first touchdown — the first of two that game — in another 100-yard rushing performance against Lamar.
His father, of course, was there to record that.
Isaiah Spiller Highlights
Spiller’s breakout game that thrusted him into one of the SEC’s top-10 rushers last year came against UTSA. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound back scored three touchdowns and totaled 217 rushing yards on 20 carries. That total was good enough to tie former TAMU running back Trayveon Williams’ (who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals) single-game freshman rushing record.
As The Eagle pointed out, Spiller has thrived when quarterback Kellen Mond shows opposing defenses he’s just as much of a threat to run the ball.
“The more we can create that without the QB run, it’s good,” Fisher told The Eagle. “So when the QB run comes or the options off of that are good, it’s a complete team thing.”
While he shined against non-SEC opponents, Spiller struggled at times in conference games and Power 5 matchups in 2019.
Spiller’s 60 combined yards on 30 hand-offs against Alabama, Clemson, Auburn and Arkansas don’t look pretty but may be more indicative of Texas A&M’s blocking than anything.
Still, he found more than 75 yards on the ground against Ole Miss, Mississippi State and South Carolina. Back-to-back road contests against top teams in Georgia and LSU didn’t make his job any easier last season in the NCAA.
Spiller has showed strides in his sophomore season despite the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak.
He rushed for 100 or more yards in six games, all against SEC opponents, including a ridiculous 174 yards against Florida at Kyle Field. He’s a big reason for the Aggies’ success (despite no College Football Playoff berth) and why they’re in the Orange Bowl game against the UNC Tarheels.
RB Isaiah Spiller’s Commitment to TAMU
A four-star running back coming out of Klein Collins High School (Spring, TX), Spiller was the ninth-ranked running back in the country in the Class of 2019. He was also ranked 23rd overall in the state of Texas and 152nd nationally.
The speedster received interest from plenty of major programs, including Oklahoma and Alabama. When he received that coveted offer from his dad’s alma mater, it was like a dream come true.
“I’ve been wearing A&M my whole life so it’s all I know,” Spiller told 247Sports. “I still wear A&M so this was a big opportunity for me and my family. It’s really big so I thank God for the opportunity. My dad couldn’t stop smiling. He was really surprised.”
And in Spiller’s commitment video, he had a familiar face telling him to “continue your legacy” before Spiller revealed his selection with his dad donning maroon next to him.
The best part about Isaiah Spiller playing for the Texas A&M Aggies isn’t that head coach Jimbo Fisher has a steady halfback for Mond or whomever plays quarterback to hand the ball off to for at least another two seasons. It’s that Fred Spiller gets to witness his son accomplish the things he couldn’t because of his back injury.
Hopefully that’ll continue to watching him on Sundays in the NFL.
Fred and his wife Iesha and their two other daughters still live in Spring, Texas, which is an hour and a half away from College Station. Fred works as a behavioral specialist at Klein Collins High School and his wife works at a local high school in the same school district.
Fred, of course, attends as many Texas A&M games as possible. He took the field with his son after the team’s big win over the Gamecocks and looked like a natural. I wonder why…
Like father, like son.
This post was originally published on November 19, 2019.