53 Facts on the 53 Man Roster
The Cowboys roster of 53 players is full of unique personalities and backgrounds. Here’s a glimpse at the current 53-man roster that takes you beyond statistics and measurements.
DAK PRESCOTT, #4: it’s not surprising that he was named a team captain in only his second NFL season. After all, he has a master’s degree from Mississippi State in workforce leadership! His undergraduate degree is in educational psychology and he was a three time All SEC Academic Fall Honor Roll member.
KELLEN MOORE, #17: the former Boise State star went 50-3 as a starter, the most wins by a starting quarterback in NCAA Division I history!
COOPER RUSH, #7: like his teammate Dak Prescott, Rush is a brainiac. The Sports Management major at Central Michigan won Academic All-MAC and MAC Distinguished Scholar awards. His GPA was 3.86.
ALFRED MORRIS, #46: Morris still drives the same old 1991 four-door sedan he bought for $2 from his pastor when he was a junior in college at Florida Atlantic University. “I still drive ‘Bentley’ which is what I call my car even though she’s not really a Bentley,” he says. “It’s always going to be my baby and I’m going to drive it ‘til she dies.”
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, #21: athleticism is part of his DNA. His mom, Dawn, competed in the heptathlon for the University of Missouri. His dad, Stacy, played linebacker for Mizzou and was part of the school’s infamous “5th down” loss at Colorado, one of the most controversial endings in college football history.
DARREN MCFADDEN, #20: has 11 brothers & sisters. The native of North Little Rock, Arkansas was the 10th of 12 kids in his family.
KEITH SMITH, #41: the former linebacker was moved to fullback during the 2016 offseason. In college at San Jose State, he was a tackling machine who totaled 476 tackles, second most in school history.
ROD SMITH #45: when Keith Smith was asked to move to fullback in 2016, the same thing happened to Rod Smith. Rod, a former running back, moved last year to fullback. Keith ended up beating out Rod for the starting fullback spot, so Rod started last season on the Cowboys’ practice squad before getting promoted later in the season to the 53-man roster. Rod is now a big-time player on special teams and this year he moved back to his natural position of running back.
TERRANCE WILLIAMS, #83: Terrance is the only current Dallas Cowboy who is from the city of Dallas. He attended W.T. White High School in the Dallas ISD before attending college at Baylor University in Waco. Terrance has never missed a game in his first 4 NFL seasons.
DEZ BRYANT, #88: Dez enters the 2017 season needing only 5 touchdown catches to surpass Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor member “Bullet” Bob Hayes (71) for most touchdown receptions in Cowboys history.
COLE BEASLEY, #11: he may be only 5’ 8” in height, but he’s able to dunk a basketball. One of his coaches in youth basketball was Tony Hill, the former Cowboys’ wide receiver.
RYAN SWITZER, #10: his pregame ritual is to watch a “love movie”, or what the rest of us call a ‘romantic comedy’, the night before a game. He says his go-to movie is The Vow starring Channing Tatum & Rachel McAdams, calling it “a great flick that always calms me down, always get me in the zone.”
BRICE BUTLER, #19: Brice’s father, Bobby, played 12 seasons in the NFL as a cornerback for the Atlanta Falcons (1981-92). Brice’s wife, Brianna, played in the NBA for the Phoenix Mercury, Connecticut Sun, and Indiana Fever. Brice and Brianna were both student athletes at University of Southern California, Brice on the football team and Brianna as a star basketball player.
NOAH BROWN, #85: He is only 21 years old and left Ohio State with two years of college eligibility remaining. He played 28 total games in college, including 12 as a true freshman. This summer, he was the only one of three Cowboys’ draft picks in the 7th round that made the 53-man roster.
JASON WITTEN, #82: now in his 15th NFL season, he is tied with Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Bill Bates, and Mark Tuinei for most years of service of all players in Cowboys’ history. He has missed only 1 game in his NFL career, a game during his rookie season after suffering a broken jaw the previous week versus the Cardinals.
JAMES HANNA, #84: Hanna played high school football about 20 minutes from the former Cowboys’ Valley Ranch practice facility in Irving. Hanna is from Flower Mound and played for FloMo (Flower Mound H.S.).
GEOFF SWAIM, #87: during the 2015 NFL Draft, the Cowboys traded a future 6th round pick to San Francisco in exchange for the 49ers’ 7th round pick in 2015 so the Cowboys could pick Swaim out of University of Texas.
Cal Sports Media via AP Images
TYRON SMITH, #77: even though this is Smith’s 7th NFL season, he is still only 26 years old and younger than teammate Zack Martin who was drafted 3 years after him. Smith was only 20 years old when he joined the Cowboys as a 1st round pick in 2011.
TRAVIS FREDERICK, #72: a native of Wisconsin, Frederick attended Big Foot High School. No, the school is not named after the mythological creature, it’s named after the chief of a local tribe of Native Americans.
ZACK MARTIN, #70: a star left tackle at Notre Dame, he now plays guard in the NFL. Martin was so good in college that he was named MVP of the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl (played at Yankee Stadium in New York). Martin is the first offensive lineman since 1959 to win an MVP award for a college bowl game (Jay Huffman, Penn State).
LA’EL COLLINS, #71: because he was not selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, he was a rookie free agent who could sign with any team. The Cowboys wanted him so badly that Jerry Jones “recruited” La’el to the Cowboys by inviting him to his Dallas mansion where La’el and Jerry were joined at dinner by head coach Jason Garrett and teammates like Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick. The plan worked; La’el signed with the Cowboys.
CHAZ GREEN, #79: his first two seasons, Green was the backup to both Tyron Smith and Doug Free at offensive tackle. But entering 2017 Green is now at left guard where he’s getting a chance to start in place of Ron Leary who left the Cowboys to sign with the Broncos in free agency.
JONATHAN COOPER, #64: of all the first-round draft picks on the Cowboys’ offensive line, Cooper was drafted the highest. Cooper was the 7th overall pick of the 2013 draft by the Arizona Cardinals; that’s higher than the Cowboys’ perennial Pro Bowl players Tyron Smith (9th overall, 2011), Travis Frederick (31st overall, 2013), and Zack Martin (16th overall, 2014).
JOE LOONEY #73: his nickname is “Jumbo Joe” not because he weighs 315 pounds, but because he enters the game as an extra blocker in short yardage situations (a package the offense calls “Jumbo” because an extra offensive lineman replaces a smaller tight end or receiver). That’s not to say Looney is small. At age 6 he weighed 120 pounds and had to play pee wee football with boys who were twice his age.
BYRON BELL, #75: Byron has already earned $450,000 this year by reaching weight clauses in his contract. The team wanted him down to 320 pounds from his listed weight of 340. But money is not Byron’s only motivation to lose weight. His father died of a heart attack at age 29, so a healthy life is the true motive.
SEAN LEE, #50: Sean entered the 2017 needing only 5 tackles to move past future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware for 10th place on the Cowboys’ all-time tackles list. Sean has 706 tackles through his first 7 seasons.
KYLE WILBER, #51: has played both linebacker and defensive end during his first 5 seasons with the Cowboys.
He’s also one of the best special teams players on the roster and played 73% of all special teams snaps in 2016.
JUSTIN DURANT, #52: Justin’s brother, Darian, is a two-time Grey Cup champion as the quarterback for Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
JAYLON SMITH, #54: Jaylon and older brother, Rod, are the third set of brothers to play in a Cowboys’ regular season games together along with Darren & Troy Hambrick and Akin & Remi Ayodele.
JAYRONE ELLIOTT, #56: Jayrone (pronounced Jay-RONE) was the Packers’ 2016 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his leadership on-and-off the field, including work with the NFL’s Play 60 program which teaches kids about the importance of fitness and nutrition.
DAMIEN WILSON, #57: Damien played all 16 games last season even though he suffered an eye injury a couple of weeks before training camp. The eye injury occurred when he was struck by a stray paintball while playing paintball with his friends.
ANTHONY HITCHENS, #59: when he recorded 100 tackles during his rookie season in 2014, he became the first Cowboys’ rookie to hit triple-digits in tackles since safety Roy Williams in 2002.
TACO CHARLTON, #97: his real first name is Vidaunte, but his mom and grandma started calling him Taco while he was still in the womb. His mom, Tamara, was on best rest. A premature baby, his grandma joked that he was “rushing for the border”, trying to get out of the womb. That was the time the Taco Bell commercials were ‘run for the border’, so mom and grandma started calling him ‘Taco’.
STEPHEN PAEA, #55: born in Auckland, New Zealand, Stephen is the first Kiwi to play for America’s Team. Stephen’s family moved to Tonga and he played rugby. At age 16, Stephen’s family moved again…to Kansas! Stephen was not fluent in English when his family moved to the U.S.
DeMARCUS LAWRENCE, #90: the Cowboys traded two picks to move up in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft to select DeMarcus, a pass rusher from Boise State. The trade was made with the rival Washington Redskins. The Cowboys traded the 47th overall pick (2nd round) and 78th overall pick (3rd round) to move up 13 spots to the 34th overall pick so they could take DeMarcus.
BRIAN PRICE, #92: Brian has something in common with actor Zac Efron and Academy Award winners Kathy Bates and Robin Williams. They are all alumni of Allan Hancock Community College in Santa Maria, California.
BENSON MAYOWA, #93: the team leader in sacks last season (6 total) is from Inglewood, California, but his family is of Nigerian descent. Mayowa owns a Super Bowl ring from his rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013. He played one season for Seattle and two seasons with Oakland before joining the Cowboys in free agency prior to the 2016 season.
MALIEK COLLINS, #96: the former team captain for the Nebraska Cornhuskers was a two-time Academic All-Big 10 selection. Collins had a terrific rookie season for the Cowboys last year. He played 61.9% of defensive snaps, more than any other defensive lineman on the team.
TYRONE CRAWFORD, #98: he is one of two Cowboys players on the current roster born in Canada. Tyrone was born in Windsor, Ontario and didn’t play football until 9th grade.
CHARLES TAPPER, #99: Charles grew up in Baltimore and didn’t play football until high school. The only reason he played was because his mom threatened him. “My mom told me I could either get a job or play football,” Charles says of his teenage years. “That summer before my junior year my mom said ‘Hey, you have too much free time, you can’t be sitting around the house doing nothing’.”
BYRON JONES, #31: an economics major at University of Connecticut who also studied political science, Jones served as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C. for U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty who represents Jones’ hometown of New Britain, Connecticut.
BENE BENWIKERE, #23: Bene is a native of southern California, but his father immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria.
Bene’s name is pronounced Ben-ay Ben-WICK-urr-rhee
NOLAN CARROLL, #24: from a military family, Nolan’s father was an U. S. Air Force senior master sergeant, and his mother is a former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander and former Lieutenant Governor of the state of Florida. Nolan went to high school in Green Cove Springs, Florida which has a natural spring that the city promoted as the original “fountain of youth”.
XAVIER WOODS, #25: he scored a touchdown in his first game in the city of Dallas, an interception return for a touchdown as member of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs versus Illinois in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
JOURDAN LEWIS, #27: he is one of two members of the Cowboys’ 2017 Draft Class that played college football for the University of Michigan (along with Wolverines’ teammate Taco Charlton).
ANTHONY BROWN, #30: the fastest player on the Cowboys’ roster, he ran a blazing 10.35 in the 100-meter dash in high school.
ORLANDO SCANDRICK, #32: for the first time in his 10-year career as a Dallas Cowboy, he was voted by teammates in 2017 as a team captain.
CHIDOBE AWUZIE, #33: the selection of Awuzie in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft will long be remembered because the announcement was made by former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson who trolled the Eagles fans attending the NFL Draft festivities in downtown Philadelphia.
KAVON FRAZIER, #35: Kavon is one of two Chippewas from Central Michigan University on the Cowboys’ roster along with rookie QB Cooper Rush.
JEFF HEATH, #38: after leading the team in interceptions in 2015 and picking off Aaron Rodgers in last year’s playoff game against the Packers, Heath moves into the starting lineup in 2017.
DAN BAILEY, #5: in 2017 he’s wearing a new kicking shoe. That’s because the one which he’d worn since college could no longer be held together by Super Glue and duct tape (yes, the shoe he used for his first six seasons of his Cowboys’ career was literally held together with glue and tape!!!).
CHRIS JONES, #6: named the Cowboys’ Special Teams MVP of the 2016 season, he holds the team record for percentage of punts inside the 20-yard line (39.9%, 113 of 283 punts).
L.P. LADOUCEUR, #91: entering the 2017 season (his 13th), he has been mistake-free on every long snap since joining the Cowboys in Week 4 of the 2005 season (1,723 consecutive snaps.