Tramel Topps: The unexpected vocal leader

Arizona State defensive lineman Tramel Topps walked on to the Sun Devils' team and plays sparingly, but his voice is heard at every game.

On Thursday night, senior defensive lineman Tramel Topps will take the field at Sun Devil Stadium for the final time. But perhaps more importantly, Thursday will be the final time Topps addresses Arizona State's team prior to the start of a home game.

"If you ask me, what will you miss about Topps, I'll miss his sermons before the game," head coach Todd Graham said.

"Ray Lewis, Ray Lewis has always been my inspiration," Topps said. "He was a guy who was big on faith and just made sure that everyone was in it, everyone was locked in, everyone was ready for the game. So I've always watched that, took his footsteps from that aspect."

Before every game, Topps fires up the Sun Devils in a huddle by chanting the phrase, "Where my dogs at?"

"I think that was, dogs is something that I look at as a pitbull off a leash," Topps said. "When it's time to go, all week we're on a leash and Saturday when I walk through that Pat Tillman tunnel, that leash is off." 

"It fits his character," ASU defensive line coach Joe Seumalo said. "He's a very outgoing, very outspoken guy who says what he means and means what he says and guys respect that."

Topps began his career at ASU as a walk-on out of Arizona Western College, where he played junior college football before matriculating on to the FBS level.

"Arizona Western is a great program and it showed me hard work and it showed me discipline and it showed me no matter what, you always work hard to get where you want to be in life," Topps said. "And it shaped me to come here and do the walk-on process."

"I can't tell you how many times I told him it's not happening," Graham said. "It's not going to happen. It's not going to happen. He didn't care what I said, he didn't care what my evaluation was, he was going to do it. When I think of this senior class, he's one of the guys that I'll think of that is an example for what a leader should be."

"Knowing my journey, the route that I took, I'm very thankful for the opportunity to step out there and actually put on a show for the fans and not only that but my family, but most of all play for God so it's a big blessing for me to step up there," Topps said. "I'm always filled with emotions because I'm so thankful." 

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