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Role Call: Could Rookie RB Push For 3rd Spot?


(Editor's Note: As part of the preparation for training camp, this series will introduce 25 key players who are new to the Cowboys' roster, rookies and veterans alike. The series continues today with rookie running back Aaron Shampklin.)

How He Got Here: The Cowboys signed Shampklin as a rookie free agent after the NFL Draft. A multiple-year starter for Harvard, Shampklin made first-team All-Ivy League again in 2021 after conference play resumed from a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He led the team with 842 rushing yards, and his 12 total touchdowns that tied for the eighth-highest total in the FCS. He also averaged 5.6 yards per carry in nine games and again showed his speed at his Pro Day, running the 40 in the 4.4-second range.

What's Next: The Cowboys signed two undrafted rookie running backs, Shampklin and former Florida standout Malik Davis, to compete for a roster spot in training camp. The top two spots on the depth chart are obviously taken by Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, and Rico Dowdle – back from season-ending hip surgery a year ago – probably has the inside track to the third running back job. But Dowdle (knee scope) and JaQuan Hardy missed offseason practice time due to injuries, so that gave Shampklin some extra snaps heading into that training camp competition. Even if Shampklin doesn't make the team, the NFL has extended the practice squad size from 14 to 16 players, which is a great opportunity for young players to continue improving.

Bet You Didn't Know: Before Harvard, Shampklin was a star high school player at Long Beach Polytechnic where several NFL players began their careers, including DeSean Jackson, Marcedes Lewis, Willie McGinest and former Cowboys Tony Hill and Omar Stoutmire.

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