The name Landry Gilpin is going down in Texas high school football history as one of the best to ever lace them up after the Mission Veterans senior was named the 5A Offensive Player of the Year, All-State First Team Quarterback by the Associated Press, and the 2018 Mr. Texas Football Player of the Year by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, the first from the RGV to ever win the award.
“It’s been an honor to be considered for these awards and to win them is an amazing feeling,” said Landry Gilpin.
After being named as an All-State Honorable Mention at quarterback during his freshman and junior seasons, the coverage buster with the sweet feet told his father and Mission Veterans Head Coach David Gilpin that his goal in his final year was to earn a spot on the First or Second Team. Nearly four months later, Landry Gilpin is taking home the highest honor in Texas high school football, joining an elite class of past winners of the award like Heisman Trophy winners Kyler Murray and Johnny Manziel.
“I had told my dad at the beginning of the year that all I wanted to do was be put on a team, be second team, first team, whatever they had I just wanted to be on a team instead of being an honorable mention like I have in the past,” he said. “For it to come out like this and for everything that’s happened to happen, it’s been incredible.”
Landry Gilpin put up insane numbers each week as the Patriots’ quarterback finished with 4,544 passing yards, 50 touchdowns through the air, and just 11 interceptions while completing 249 of his throws on 433 attempts for a cool average of 18.2 yards per pass in 14 games. He also ran for 2,112 yards and 32 touchdowns, averaging 150.9 rushing yards per game from the QB position.
With stats straight out of a video game, Greg Tepper of Dave Campbell Texas Football Magazine, said the reason Landry Gilpin was named the 2018 Mr. Texas Football Player of the Year was for getting it done in the postseason and taking his team where only two RGV schools had been since 1990.
“In the end, the most resounding responses from people and the way that we felt here in this office is that what Landry Gilpin did for Veterans Memorial, to put his team on his back and get them to a place that only two other Rio Grande Valley teams since 1990 has ever done, which is get to the quarterfinals, to do that and put up the numbers he did … I feel like he was the most outstanding player in the state of Texas,” said Tepper, the Managing Editor at Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.
Head Coach David Gilpin felt told Landry early on that if the Patriots made a playoff run, the recognition would come. After putting up 704 yards and seven touchdowns in a 62-55 win against an unbeaten Corpus Christi Veterans team in the Alamodome in the 3rd round, people around the state were left with no choice but to include the Patriots’ quarterback in the conversation with some of the all-time greats.
“Once we started winning and beating teams from out of the Valley with some really good athletes and our team continued to excel with Landry at the helm, then all of a sudden the eyes started coming this way,” said Coach Gilpin. “People start wondering what’s going on there at Mission Veterans, that Landry Gilpin is something special, that team is really doing what a lot of people didn’t expect them to do. When he went out and performed that way on that stage, there was nothing to do but take notice of this little team from the Rio Grande Valley, led by our quarterback Landry Gilpin and it was just the start of what has now turned into something really big.”
And Landry Gilpin knows he couldn’t have done it without the support system around him. The quarterback consistently credits his teammates, coaches, and even the fans who showed support by driving up to the Alamodome two Saturdays in a row in December.
“He’s special and he has been special since we put the ball in his hands four years ago as our quarterback at Mission Veterans Memorial,” said Coach Gilpin. “He has been a special player, a very gifted player and committed player, and the fact that he’s being recognized for it makes me swell with pride, yes, as a dad, and yes, as a head coach.”
While Rio Grande Valley football has long been criticized by teams around Texas and labeled with the term “Valley week,” used to describe the week teams from the RGV usually travel up north in Texas and get beaten in the playoffs by teams with superior talent, Landry Gilpin put that notion to bed.
“Nobody can put a label on what the Valley is capable of doing, just because you’re not as big, not as fast or not as strong, doesn’t mean you’re not a good football player and you’re not capable of doing things that haven’t been done,” Landry Gilpin said. “My advice to others is to keep grinding, keep working, and don’t ever let somebody else’s words put a limit on you.”
Landry Gilpin will be presented the 2018 Mr. Texas Football Player of the Year award on-field during the Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl featuring Baylor against Vanderbilt at NRG Stadium in Houston on Thursday, Dec. 27, which can be seen on ESPN at 8 p.m. central time.