If you had told Jacob Scroggins a year ago that he would be leading the most beloved animal in Aggieland onto Kyle Field, he probably wouldn’t have believed it. Being paired with Reveille IX is now a part of everyday life for Scroggins, who is the mascot corporal for the 2017-2018 academic year at Texas A&M University.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to have the responsibility of taking care of a big university’s mascot,” Scroggins said. “I was speechless. I couldn’t believe such a high honor was given to me.”
The sophomore biomedical sciences major said he had known for years he wanted to attend A&M, and he said it was the only university to which he applied. But he was not aware that there was a single student charged with the responsibility of caring for the highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets until he arrived.
Upon joining Company E-2, Scroggins said he just “thought it would be cool to hang out with the mascot.” Now he is Reveille’s constant companion, a role that brings a great deal of responsibility, he said.
“Now, I respect it a lot more,” he said. “I don’t think most Aggies or people in general know the true responsibility that Reveille is, how important she is and how busy she is.”
It’s a time-consuming job, Scroggins said, including a busy summer schedule of traveling the state for “coach’s night” events and spending time on Kyle Field to make sure Reveille was comfortable and prepared for the nearly 103,000-strong 12th Man.
Scroggins hails from the North Texas town of Little Elm, and said there was “a culture shock for sure” upon arriving on campus. But he said he was “intrigued by the discipline and tradition” that went along with the Corps, and has been happy with the decision.
Although he said the responsibility of his new post seemed overwhelming at first, having the summer to settle into the role alongside Reveille — now in her third year as mascot — has “helped walk me through” the experience. Learning how to manage the attention that Reveille attracts was among the most daunting of parts of his new job, he said.
“Going from just a normal freshman in college to being the person escorting the university mascot around campus was a big change,” he said.
Now that the school year is in full swing, he said he is appreciative for the time he had to bond with Reveille. Scroggins said she has grown to “handle the attention very well,” making things easier for him as he adjusts.
Miss Rev may be a revered figure among Aggies, but Scroggins said he has noticed that people sometimes forget the collie is a normal dog that enjoys many of the same things as any other pup.
“She’s happy, really outgoing, playful and curious,” Scroggins said.
Among his favorite activities is to take her out to an area away from the scores of adoring Aggies to spend some one-on-one time playing with one of her favorite chew toys — a stuffed animal Bevo, the University of Texas mascot.
“I like to play with her and see the normal side of her,” he said. “Everyone sees her business side, but I just enjoy letting her be a dog and having fun with her.”
Scroggins said Reveille has made great strides since she first took over the prestigious mantle, and that the handler’s role includes working with her to make improvements.
“This is her third year as the mascot and she has come a long way,” Scroggins said. “From what I’ve heard, she was a little more nervous and jittery when she first started, but now she’s gotten a lot better. Over the past year that I’ve known her, and even just over the summer, she’s seen a lot of progress. She’s a really smart dog and she’s willing to work on getting better at things she’s not quite as good at sometimes.”
Scroggins said while getting the opportunity to lead Reveille — and the football team — onto Kyle Field is an experience he will treasure, it is the other campus moments that he looks forward to the most.
“The football games are more for me, but taking her to class every day, I think that’s the most important, because I get to see how she affects the students of A&M,” he said. “Reveille is unique, because she’s down in the dirt with all the students who can see her and interact with her every day. I think that’s really special.”