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Leon O'Neal Jr Wins 2021 Aggie Heart Award

The defensive standout was honored at the Texas A&M football banquet

There's no question that the Texas A&M defense was the more dominant side of the ball with regards to the 2021 Aggies.

Post-season awards are certainly coming for numerous members of that group, but the program is already honoring some from within.

Senior defensive back Leon O'Neal Jr. from Cypress, Texas was named the 2021 Aggie Heart Award winner, the highest honor for an Aggies senior football player.

The award was presented to O'Neal Jr. at the annual Texas A&M football banquet on Sunday at the Ford Hall of Champions inside Kyle Field. The banquet honors the 2021 Aggies football team and focuses on the senior class.

The Heart Award is aimed at a senior who has completed eligibility and shows the intangibles, such as effort, desire, determination, competitiveness, accountability, leadership, and courage. The winner is one who extends himself to the fullest every time he puts on his football gear, regardless of the situation, be it in practice or a game. The award is voted on by the players.

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“Leon has always had a big heart and played the game with a lot of passion,” Aggie head football coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He has given everything he has to this program and our football team. I am proud of the young man Leon has become and his growth both on the field, and off of the field.

“This senior class bought into our program and helped establish the culture we need here at Texas A&M,” Fisher explained. “They helped lay a great foundation for our future success and worked well with our younger players. I can’t thank them enough and we need to finish this season off with another bowl win to become only the second group of seniors to leave Aggieland with four bowl victories.”

O'Neal Jr. registered 58 tackles on the season with 38 solo, one sack, one fumble recovery, two interceptions, and one touchdown.

The No. 25 Aggies will travel to Tampa Bay as the SEC representative in the Taxslayer Gator Bowl. They will face No. 17 Wake Forest, the runner-up of the ACC on Dec 31. 

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