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Cowboys countdown to kickoff: #17 Dennis Houston

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1. And we’re counting down to it by jersey numbers.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 17.

WR Dennis Houston
Born: 24th April 1999 (24) - Fort Hood, Texas
College: Western Illinois Leathernecks
Draft: 2022, UDFA, Dallas Cowboys

2022 Stats:
Total Snaps: 73
Offensive Snaps: 60 (5%)
Targets: 6
Receptions: 2
Receiving Yards: 16
Yards Per Reception: 8
First Downs: 0
Touchdowns: 0
Penalties: 0

Dennis Houston began his collegiate football career playing for Houston Baptist Huskies in 2017. He caught 33 passes for 362 yards for Houston Baptist, and at the end of the season he transferred to play for the Fullerton College Hornets.

As a sophomore playing for the Hornets, he had 360 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Houston would transfer again, this time to his final destination at Western Illinois.

In 2019 and playing in his first season for the Leathernecks, Houston led the team with 539 receiving yards on 36 catches and scored three touchdowns.

The next year, Houston’s senior year, he led the team again with 43 receptions and 477 receiving yards with two touchdowns. He earned honors being named first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Houston would play as a super senior at Western Illinois in 2021. He caught 90 passes for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns and was again named first-team All-MVFC.

Cowboys Review:
Houston signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent last year and made the Cowboys’ initial 53-man roster out of training camp. His camp performance was impressive and it was clear he quickly established a connection with Dak Prescott. The wide receiver corps last year was looking questionable when Gallup was still recovering from an ACL injury and Amari Cooper got traded in the offseason. People gave a slight sigh of relief seeing a receiver stepping up to help fill the razor thin depth at the position. But Houston failed to replicate the success he had while at Oxnard. Once Houston’s biggest strength was lost for a period of time (Dak Prescott), his opportunity for success disappeared and he was waived early in the season and put back onto the practice squad.

2023 Roster Projections:
We’ve seen Houston flash and we’ve seen him be given a chance and struggle. This year his level of opportunity is even thinner as the receiver corps this year is as stacked in talent and depth in ways that hasn’t been seen in a while. This means Houston has an even bigger hill to climb to get off the practice squad. He had moments in camp this year but not in comparison to last season, so the question becomes which direction the coaches will go with Houston.

The Big Question:
Will Dennis Houston make the final roster cut this year and stay in Dallas? Let us know in the comments.

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