With the offseason in full swing and the team turning their focus to the draft, 5 Points Blue will be taking a look back at current Cowboys players and the skills they honed on the gridiron during their collegiate years.
After going unselected in the 2003 NFL Draft, Tony Romo fielded calls from multiple teams before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys. Since that time, Romo has climbed through the ranks from being third in the depth charts to earning the starting role in 2006. Since then, Romo has solidified his role as a franchise quarterback and become a backbone for the team – a standpoint that became even more evident with his sizeable absence from the field this year. But let’s throw it back to before the four-time Pro Bowler had become a household name and take a look at his collegiate career. Check out some quick facts from his time in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) of the NCAA Division I-AA (now the FCS).
High School: Burlington High School, Burlington, WI
College: Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Much like his NFL career path, Romo overcame a slow start at Eastern Illinois (EIU) before making his way into the record books. After receiving a partial scholarship following a solid senior year at Burlington High, the young quarterback was redshirted his first year out and was considered being moved to tight end before stepping up and earning the full-time starting spot his sophomore year.
- Started 35 of 36 games played at EIU
- Career: Completed 584-of-941 for 8,212 yards and 85 touchdowns with passer efficiency of 157.5
- Led the Division in passer efficiency in 2001 (178.3) and ranked second in 2000 (160.5)
- Set EIU and OVC record for career touchdown passes
- Ranked second in school history in career completions
- Set EIU and OVC record for single season touchdown passes his senior year (2002 – 34)
- Ranked third in EIU and OVC history with 3,149 yards in total offense (2002)
- Named Third Team All-America by the Associated Press (2001)
- All-OVC (2000, 2001, 2002)
- OVC Player of the Year (2000, 2001, 2002)
- Consensus First Team All-American (2002)
- Walter Payton Award Winner (Awarded to nation’s top Division I-AA player – 2002)
- First player in EIU and OVC history to earn the honor
- Inducted into the EIU Hall of Fame (2009)
- First player in EIU history to have his jersey retired