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Small school, big dreams: JMU DE Ron’Dell Carter plans on making impact for Dallas Cowboys

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Remember the name.

James Madison v North Carolina State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Every year, there’s a undrafted free agent that Cowboys Nation falls in love with. This year, that guy is going to be James Madison DE Ron’Dell Carter. Carter’s path to the NFL isn’t like many others.

After heading to Rutgers University out of high school, Carter transferred to James Madison after two years at Rutgers. Ron’Dell’s main reason for transferring was to play with his big brother Robert and help James Madison reach the National Championship game.

Carter didn’t take long to find success as he posted four sacks, and eight tackles for loss in his first season with the Dukes.

It was in his second season with the Dukes that Carter finally felt like his chances of making it into the NFL were real.

“It was my redshirt junior year, when we played NC State” Carter said when I asked him when he first realized he had the skillset to play in the National Football League. “On the road, against a big program like South Carolina, I went out there and had three tackles for loss, a sack, and seven tackles. I felt like I belonged, it was a great feeling.”

Carter’s confidence and level of play took off from that point on. In his last two years at James Madison, Carter combined for 19.5 sacks, 40 tackles for loss, and 124 total tackles, proving to be one of the most disruptive defensive ends in the country.

Carter’s offseason started off with the Cowboys being the very first team that contacted him directly after James Madison 28-20 loss in the National Championship in Frisco, but they weren’t the only team interested. According to Carter, 25-28 teams showed serious interest in him throughout the offseason, and he heard from almost all of them at some point on day three of the NFL Draft.

But it was the Cowboys that landed Ron’Dell Carter. Why, you might ask?

Carter mentioned it coming down to the best deal financially, but also the best chance of him to make the 55-man roster.

“Me and my agent weighed all of our options, it came down to San Francisco and Dallas, and at the end of the day, we both felt that I had a chance to win a roster spot in Dallas. It’s also where I trained this offseason, so I am familiar with the area.” Carter told us.

When talking to Ron’Dell Carter, it’s easy to see why the Cowboys fell in love with the 6’3”, 269 lb defensive end. Carter is genuine, a hard worker, and offers some serious potential off the edge due to his refined technique, size, and length at the position. If you aren’t familiar with the name Ron’Dell Carter, you should certainly do some homework, because he’ll be a name you’ll want to know whenever training camp kicks off.