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Role Call: Jalen Brooks back in Texas as NFL rookie


(Editor's Note: With the offseason program in the rearview mirror, it's time to look ahead. 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. We'll continue with Jalen Brooks.)

How He Got Here: Brooks is Carolina born, Carolina bred, spending the majority of his life in that area — North and South. He split high school time between the two states before his football career took the young receiver to Wingate University, a Division II school, but what he's known most for is what he went on to do for the University of South Carolina. Brooks spent three years with the Gamecocks and played in 22 games, his best season being just last year, in 2022, when he reeled in 504 receiving yards and averaged 15.3 yards per catch.

What's Next: That production led him to be chosen as the final selection in the Cowboys draft this past April (Round 7, pick 244), and he joins a WR room that is now lights out in the first three spots but locked in a battle royale for the fourth seat and below. With Simi Fehoko and Jalen Tolbert taking the lead ahead of camp in that second-tier battle, Brooks will need to show what his 6-foot-2, 205 pound frame is capable of with the hopes of at least carving out a role on special teams to begin his NFL career.

Bet You Didn't Know: Though he has Carolina (both of them) in his blood through and through, Brooks is not entirely a stranger to the state of Texas. In 2020, he transferred from Wingate to Tarleton State — roughly an hour southwest of Fort Worth — but ultimately transferred to South Carolina before the 2020 season started following an "extremely hard" summer during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that, at times, saw him often driving 14-16 hours each way from North Texas to North Carolina.

Quotable: "You've always got to handle your business. Adversity came my way, but I didn't stop grinding. I kept on working." - Jalen Brooks

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