Defensive lineman Jordan Carrell’s dream became reality when he was drafted in the seventh round by the Dallas Cowboys in April.
Carrell celebrated with his family that night, but without one key member.
His father, Lawrence Carrell, died of a heart attack last April, and the Cowboys’ rookie is dedicated his senior season at Colorado to him.
“He was my biggest fan,” Carrell said. “There wouldn’t be anyone more proud than him accomplishing this goal, especially on this team.”
Lawrence Carrell’s family was from Dallas and Jordan’s grandmother tried to get him to be a Cowboys fan, but he grew up a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Nonetheless, the father would be proud of Jordan’s accomplishments today.
“He would be super proud,” Carrell said. “He would honestly try to sneak into the building with me. He played a big part of me getting here and I’m glad I can continue the Carrell name.”
Larry Cunha, Carrell’s coach at Roseville High School in Elk Grove, Calif., knows the family.
“It was much too soon and very unfortunate for the entire family,” Cunha said. “It was both heartbreaking and motivating for Jordan. The passing of his father has helped Jordan mature.”
Carrell grew up in Elk Grove, about 15 miles south of Sacramento, but attended high school at Roseville where he excelled as both the football team’s center and defensive end under the leadership of Cunha.
During his senior year, Carrell blocked for an offense that averaged 439 yards and 33.4 points per game. On defense, Carrell finished with 31 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. He also lettered three years in baseball, playing pitcher, first base and third base.
“The player that Jordan is now in his football career is not the same player that he was in high school,” Cunha said. “Jordan has grown up and more importantly, he has matured as a human being and as a football player.”
Carrell spent two years at American River College in Sacramento, where he posted 80 tackles and eight sacks as a sophomore.
He spent his final two years at the University of Colorado where he started 26 of 27 games and recorded 103 tackles and 24 quarterback hurries. He graduated in December with a degree in Communications.
It was at Colorado where Carrell dedicated his senior season to his late father.
“Jordan has grown into a nice young man with some outstanding physical skills on the football field,” Cunha said. “I hope very much that he will find a place in an organization where he can contribute on the 53-man roster or on the practice squad in the first year.”
“Before he left for Dallas last week, he stopped by [our] practice and addressed our varsity team about working hard on the field and in the classroom.”
The Cowboys are working through their organized team activities this week at The Star in Frisco.
“I’m pretty blessed to be apart of this organization,” Carrell said. “It’s always been my dream to play for the Cowboys.”