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May 11, 2013

Cowboys like stocking rookie minicamp with local talent, which is 'off the charts,' Garrett says

The Cowboys have 11 players from Texas, not counting draft pick Terrance Williams of Dallas, working at rookie minicamp.

That is a compliment to the level of talent in the state, coach Jason Garrett said.

 “Think about where we live,” he said, asked Friday as the camp began about how the Cowboys consider bringing in local players either as free-agent signees or tryout players. “I’d argue that football is played in the state of Texas at all levels better than any state in the country. So there’s a lot of really, really good football players that come out of Texas. There are some amazingly good football players who come from the Dallas area.”

Last year, one of those players went from tryout player to practice squad player to active squad player. Texas A&M defensive end Ben Bass was invited to the camp, like many tryout players, to fill out the roster so there would be enough practice bodies. It helped that he was from Plano and could drive in.

But he was impressive enough in the rookie camp to be signed for OTAs.

“The local talent in this specific area is off the charts,” Garrett said. “You think about the junior high programs that feed into the high school programs and the local college programs, there are some great players from around here. So we feel like, hey, we know these guys, we get a chance to see them, let’s tap into them. We’ve had some success with them in the past.”

The Cowboys signed five undrafted rookies from Texas for the camp: Wisconsin cornerback Dustin Harris of Livingston, Missouri running back Kendial Lawrence of Rockwall, SMU linebacker Taylor Reed of Beaumont, Wisconsin cornerback Devin Smith of Coppell and Akron quarterback Dalton Williams of Coppell.

They brought in five players from Texas on a tryout basis: Houston linebacker Everett Daniels of Sachse, Texas State guard D.J. Hall of Palestine, Baylor defensive tackle Nick Johnson of Waco, Texas Tech receiver Darrin Moore of Irving and Texas Tech deep snapper Jesse Smitherman of Burleson.

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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