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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Introducing the class: Jay Arnold

By Sam Khan Jr.

"Introducing the class" is a series in which GigEmNation conducts a Q&A session with each of the incoming recruits in Texas A&M's 2013 class to give readers a closer look at each recruit. Today, we visit with Heath (Texas) Rockwall-Heath defensive end Jay Arnold.

Arnold, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end, was a four-star prospect coming out of Rockwall-Heath. He was ranked 37th nationally at his position and committed to the Aggies on April 9, 2012. Since then, he has been one of the most vocal recruits when it comes to promoting Texas A&M.

In his senior season, he helped Heath earn a berth in the Texas Class 5A Division II playoffs by making 44 tackles and recording 13 sacks. He forced three fumbles and returned a fumble for a touchdown en route to first-team all-district honors. Here's our Q&A with Arnold:

Jay Arnold
Texas A&M defensive end signee Jay Arnold has high hopes for his Aggies career.
GigEmNation: What made you commit to Texas A&M?
Jay Arnold:
"Honestly, A&M was the best fit for me academically and with football. It's a place where there's great tradition, the fans are awesome, the academic support staff is great and being in the SEC is a big deal to me in order to compete against the best. So it was kind of the perfect storm. I really want a chance to be a part of it and I was lucky enough to get that offer and I jumped right on it."

GEN: What has life been like since your commitment?
"It was a little bit stressful at first with all the offers and everything, but once I finally committed, it was a really big load off my shoulders. I could relax and focus on getting ready for college football and focus on my grades and everything. I would say it has been a good feeling once I knew I had a place."

GEN: You've been very enthusiastic and vocal on Twitter or otherwise when it comes to promoting Texas A&M since you committed. What has it meant to you to do that?
"I feel like it was part of the job whenever I committed. It was a responsibility to get as many high-profile guys in here as we could so we could get as many good athletes as possible in this class. I felt like it was important that I play a role in that."

GEN: Describe your first meeting with Kevin Sumlin. What was your first impression?
"Coach Sumlin is a great guy. The first time I met him, he was a really down-to-earth guy. He helped us feel comfortable. He's a high-energy guy at practice and he gets after it. I think it shows with the team and how they've reacted. That first impression was a big deal for me.

GEN: Do you have a favorite memory of Texas A&M yet?
"I would probably have to say watching that Alabama game on TV. That was one of the coolest deals. I was watching with a bunch of friends and we all went nuts whenever Everett picked that pass off. It was just a great memory."

GEN: What's your goal when you get to Texas A&M?
"My goal is to play my part and help this team win a national championship. I think we have all the tools to do it and that's where I'm setting the goal, going in."

GEN: When did you first get into football and why?
"I first got into football when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I watched it on TV and I thought it looked like fun. I made my parents take me out to pee wee tryouts and just from there it kind of took off. I've always enjoyed the game and it's something I love competing in."

GEN: Do you have any superstitions or routines that you have before games?
"Nothing real superstitious. I just have a pregame playlist that I have to listen to before every game. Other than that, nothing really."

GEN: What's on your pregame music playlist?
"A little bit of everything. I have a lot of classic rock on there and some rap. Lil' Boosie is who I listen to when it comes to rap before games."

GEN: Biggest influence on your success?
"My parents have really been the biggest influence on my football career. They've always encouraged me to keep playing and never accept failure. My uncle, Joe Dixon, played for the 1963 national championship team at the University of Texas. He was a big influence on my career as well. He passed away a few years back, but growing up, he was always big about 'You have to choose the right place for you.' It was a pretty sweet deal [having him in the family]. It's something to live up to and aspire to be like."

GEN: You also participate in wrestling for Rockwall-Heath. What has that been like?
"There's no sport out there that can really compare to wrestling. Football practice is hard, but when you get in that wrestling room and it's heated up to like 90 degrees and you're going for a full two hours practicing, it's a completely different experience."

GEN: What's your favorite thing to do outside of football?
"I love just being outside either hunting, fishing or just getting a group of people together to play pickup sports."

GEN: If you weren't a football player, what sport would you play?
""I would definitely be in MMA for sure. I already train it, but I would probably solely focus on that. Also, I played baseball for a long time too. I was a pitcher for awhile. If I didn't play football, I would probably play baseball."

GEN: How have your accomplishments changed your life?
"It has just made me want to keep getting better. I'm a really competitive guy. With every accomplishment, it just makes me want to achieve more and be the best I can be."

GEN: Biggest highlight in your playing career?
"I would say that the biggest highlight of my football playing career is my junior year when we were playing against West Mesquite and I returned a fumble 48 yards for a touchdown.

GEN: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
"Hopefully either being in the NFL or in the UFC, one of the two."

Major: Business.

Favorite food: "Steak. I love a good steak."

Favorite car: "Ford F-150. I love that truck. If I had to pick a car, a Dodge Charger. I love those Chargers."

Favorite NFL player: "Jared Allen. He's not the most athletic guy out there but he's just a crazy guy and he gets after it every play. You always know you're going to be in a fight when you're going against him."

Desired jersey number: "Hopefully I can keep 85 but I'm not worried about what number I am. I'm looking forward to working for it."