Offensive lineman La'el Collins is the latest in a line of SEC and LSU players to join the Dallas Cowboys. Max Faulkner Star-Telegram
Offensive lineman La'el Collins is the latest in a line of SEC and LSU players to join the Dallas Cowboys. Max Faulkner Star-Telegram

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys have special connection with LSU, SEC

By David Humphrey

dchumphrey@star-telegram.com

July 23, 2015 7:23 PM

L-S-U! L-S-U!

S-E-C! S-E-C!

Dallas Cowboys?

There’s history there.

The Southeastern Conference has historically been a feeding ground for the Cowboys. Tennessee, with superstars such as Jason Witten and Alvin Harper, leads the franchise’s all-time college roster with 23.

Other SEC schools among the top 15 are Texas A&M 19, Georgia 14 and LSU 13.

Former Cowboys great and the NFL’s all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith is from Florida.

Fourteen SEC players are on the Cowboys’ roster heading into Tuesday’s reporting date for training camp in Oxnard, Calif.

LSU has the most recent roster addition after undrafted rookie free agent La’el Collins, an offensive lineman, signed with the Cowboys in May.

Expectations are high for Collins, who was rated as a first-round talent but fell out of the draft after Baton Rouge police wanted to question him concerning the murder of a pregnant ex-girlfriend. The police said Collins was not a suspect, but the situation scared away all 32 NFL teams from drafting him.

After the draft, Collins could have gone anywhere in the league as a free agent.

He chose Dallas.

“I wanted to be in a place where I was going to fight for championships, year in and year out. I wanted to be in a place where I was going to reach my full potential around guys that see the same vision that I see. A team that stands for something,” Collins said. “The moment I got off the plane, I was welcomed here.”

Since joining the Cowboys for minicamps, Collins has worked at right tackle and left guard. At LSU, he played 13 games at left guard and 26 at left tackle.

“He’s done a good job,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s played both tackle and guard for us, like we had talked about coming out. He’s done some good things at tackle; he’s done some good things at guard. He’s learning.”

Blue Star Bayou

Some of the other notable LSU Tigers who wear or have won the Cowboys’ star:

Cornerback Morris Claiborne, 2012 to presentJury is still out on Claiborne, who has been slowed by injuries since the Cowboys moved up to make a first-round pick in 2012.

Safety Danny McCray, 2010-2013, 2015 — Special teams standout. Signed with Dallas as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2010. Played four of his first five seasons with Dallas. Joined Chicago in 2014. Returned to Cowboys in free agency in May.

Defensive end Marcus Spears, 2005-2012 — Joined the Cowboys as the second of two first-round picks in 2005. He played eight seasons with Dallas and had 10 career sacks.

Linebacker Brady James, 2003-2012 — Played nine of his 10 NFL seasons with Dallas. Former fourth-round pick retired as a Cowboy. Led team in combined tackles six consecutive seasons.

Tight end David LaFleur, 1997-2000 — Former first-round pick played four seasons with Dallas and finished with 85 receptions and 12 touchdowns.

Roll call

Colleges with the most players on Cowboys’ rosters:

School

Players

Tennessee

23

Florida State

21

Oklahoma

19

Southern California

19

Texas A&M

19

UCLA

19

Miami, Fla.

18

Ohio State

17

SMU

17

Washington

15

Baylor

14

Georgia

14

Nebraska

14

LSU

13

Michigan State

13

Texas

12

Source: 2014 Dallas Cowboys media guide

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