COLLEGE: The Dallas Cowboys traded up eight spots in the 2012 NFL Draft in order to select the top defensive player available in the draft in Morris Claiborne. In Claiborne, Dallas gets the 2011 Jim Thorpe Award winner who proved himself not only in man coverage, but also with his ability to handle kick return duties. Claiborne started the last 26 games he played at Louisiana State, tallying 95 tackles, 11 interceptions with one returned for a touchdown while averaging 25.38 yards-per-kickoff return, returning 24 for 609 yards with a touchdown. His knack for intercepting passes should come as no surprise as Claiborne was recruited to play wide receiver, but moved to defensive back prior to his freshman season due to the recommendation of former teammate Patrick Peterson, who was taken by Arizona just one spot higher than Claiborne in the 2011 NFL Draft. Through his three collegiate seasons, Claiborne put his athletic talents on display. He has the innate ability of jumping routes and is capable of making quick reads and reacting to the ball. He excels in man coverage, and his quick hands and reaction time allow him to play the ball in the air. In teaming up with former first round pick Mike Jenkins (2008), Orlando Scandrick (2008) and 2012 free agent Brandon Carr, the Cowboys expect Claiborne to be a big force in their now deep cornerback group.
4/26/12: Drafted in the first round (sixth overall) by Dallas.
• Won the Jim Thorpe Award along with the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-America first-team honors from multiple outlets and was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
• Started all 14 games and finished with 51 tackles, one tackle for a loss, and ranked third in the conference with six interceptions with one returned for a touchdown.
• Tallied 173 interception return yards for the third-most in a season in school history.
• Returned 22 kickoffs for 552 yards with one for a 99-yard touchdown. His 25.09-yard average was seventh in school history.
• Had a season-high six tackles in each of the first two games against Oregon at Cowboys Stadium and against Northwestern State.
• Notched five-tackle games on three other occasions, including against Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.
• Notched his second career multiple interception game with two picks at Mississippi State.
• Had three kickoff returns for 154 yards, including a 99-yard return for a touchdown, at West Virginia.
• Returned an interception a career-long 89 yards at Tennessee.
• Started 12-of-13 contests, missing one game with a concussion, en route to All-SEC second-team honors starting opposite Jim Thorpe winner Peterson.
• Finished the year eighth on the squad with 37 tackles while adding 11 pass break ups – second in the conference – with five interceptions and two kickoff returns for 57 yards.
• Had a then career-high five tackles in the opener against North Carolina in Atlanta, only to top that figure with a career-best eight stops against Ole Miss after returning from the concussion.
• Had his first career multi-interception game at Mississippi State.
• Became the first Tiger since LaRon Landry in 2006 to intercept a pass in consecutive games when he had one at Florida followed by one against McNeese State.
• Played in only seven games as a reserve true freshman and posted seven tackles.
• Came into fall camp as a receiver and moved to cornerback one week in.
• Served as a backup right cornerback to Peterson.
• Had his first career tackle against Vanderbilt then had a season-best three tackles against Tulane.
• Starred at quarterback, defensive back and wide receiver at Fair Park High School in Shreveport, La.
• Accounted for more than 2,000 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior quarterback.
• Three-time all-district selection also lettered in basketball, baseball and track.
• Captured the Class 4A state title in the 100-meters with a 10.76 time as a senior.
• Was a general studies major at LSU.
• 2012 Rookie Club presented by UnitedHealthcare.• 2012 Dallas Cowboys U High School Camp.