JMU to 'Jerry World:' Two star Dukes get NFL shot with Cowboys

Published: May. 5, 2020 at 6:03 PM EDT
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You'd be hard-pressed to find two players who had a bigger impact on the 2019 James Madison football team than quarterback Ben DiNucci and defensive end Ron'Dell Carter.

Both were named CAA Players of the Year on their respective sides of the ball and both received first-team FCS All-American honors as seniors.

The two even took similar paths to James Madison, both starting at Power-Five FBS programs--DiNucci at Pitt, Carter at Rutgers--before ending up with the Dukes.

And now, they will leave Harrisonburg for the same NFL destination, after the Dallas Cowboys drafted DiNucci in the seventh round and signed Carter as a free agent soon after.

"We talked directly after the draft and we both had our Dallas Cowboy hats on and we both can't wait," said Carter. "I'm sure he's excited. I'm definitely excited. I can't wait."

First-year Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy hails from the Pittsburgh area, just like DiNucci, and the two even met in an elevator in January when the Dukes were in Texas for the National Championship.

DiNucci will likely compete for the third-string QB position, behind starter Dak Prescott and the newly-signed Andy Dalton.

"It's just crazy. To be able to have a teammate there, it'll make the transition so much easier," DiNucci said. "He's been one of my best friends and so supportive throughout this whole thing, so having him down there in Dallas with me is all you could ask for."

As for Carter, he reportedly had offers from 25 different teams after the draft and eventually signed a bigger contract than any of Dallas' 14 other undrafted free agents.

The road to earning playing time won't be easy, but based on the success the two former Dukes helped bring to their alma mater, don't be surprised if you see them suiting up for "America's Team" in the near future.

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