Mac Engel

Raped by age 9 and a mom at 13, now she's a college grad — and her baby was a Dallas Cowboy

South Grand Prairie alum DeQuinton Osborne celebrates after earning his college degree from Oklahoma State in 2017 with his mother, Dorothy Osborne. He is now with the Dallas Cowboys hoping to make the team as a rookie free agent signee. She gave birth to her son when she was 13.
South Grand Prairie alum DeQuinton Osborne celebrates after earning his college degree from Oklahoma State in 2017 with his mother, Dorothy Osborne. He is now with the Dallas Cowboys hoping to make the team as a rookie free agent signee. She gave birth to her son when she was 13.

Before she went out for track practice at middle school in South Grand Prairie, Dorothy Osborne was stopped by a teacher. The results of her physical exam, which was required to run track and administered by the school, were available.

"You can't run track," the teacher said, "you're pregnant."

Dorothy Osborne was 12. She had four months to prepare to be a mom.

"I had no idea," she said. "I was basically homeless. My parents were both drug addicts. Crack was the problem. I had no brothers or sisters. I was living with the father."

When Osborne began to visit with doctors, counselors and state employees about having the baby, one of the first questions was whether the relationship was consensual. The child's father was 17.

"I think it was, but it was also me not really knowing at that age," she said. "It was muddy. When the state got involved, they asked if this was statutory rape or molestation."

Leaning heavily on the direction and advice of school counselors, she took parenting classes and prepared to be a mom. While going to school.

"I was getting all of this information and, bam, that baby was here on Thanksgiving 1994," she said.

She moved into state-assisted, low-income housing near South Grand Prairie High School and entered a work-study program. She worked at McDonald's. She put her son in day care, often from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

DeQuinton's father was out of his life by the time he was 3. They have not seen each other since.

She was not alone, but close. She felt the stares. The mockery. The ridicule.

"People would call me a whore," she said. "Every day I was dealing with somebody. I had those 'Why me?' questions. Now, I'm a Christian and I have faith, and everything does happen for a reason."

Like most first-time parents, she had no clue what she was doing.

"I would give him formula and I had no idea if I was putting in too much powder or not enough water," she said. "I was so young. I just did what I had to do. It was my life. I was so in the moment. He was my focus. At that time in my life, he was the one person I knew who loved me. He was my motivation. It was my son.

"Looking back on it, I think, 'How the heck did I do that?'"

Backup plan

Dorothy Osborne received her high school diploma from South Grand Prairie High School when her son was 5.

She took classes at UTA to earn a degree in nursing and eventually landed a job in a doctor's office. She started a relationship with her husband, Derrick White, at 19. They have been together for 17 years now.

"To Quinton, that's 'Pops,'" Dorothy said.

DeQuinton took to football, but not every part of school. Like none of it.

"The way he was going, he was going to go to Kilgore Junior College and then get a job working for the city," said his high school coach Brent Whitson.

By that point, the relationship between mom and son was clearly outlined.

"I told him, 'I'm not your friend. I'm not your home girl. I'm your mom,'" she said. "And you will respect me."

By the start of DeQuinton's senior year, he had become a great high school player playing on an average high school team. College coaches wanted that player. College coaches wanted DQ the Player but ran from him because of DQ the Student.

His transcripts were not good.

Entering the spring semester of his senior year, DeQuinton needed three A's and two B's to qualify academically for a football scholarship. By that point, nearly every school was out on DQ; Missouri was waiting, in hopes that he would improve his grades.

His mother grabbed her son and sat down with counselors and coaches to outline exactly what needed to be done. There was a way, but her son had to earn the grades.

"On May 31, Missouri offered him a full ride," Whitson said. "It reinforced to me what kids can do. Teachers don't want to fail you. He was just a teenager. He put in the effort. He was doing with schoolwork what he had done with football the previous fall. You could just see the light had come on."

Transitioning to Missouri proved to be less than good. Osborne didn't like the cold. Class was something he occasionally attended. He was often on the Stairmaster in the early morning, the typical punishment for slackers under then-Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel.

Osborne lined up to transfer to Kilgore College.

Around that time, his mother decided to tell her son about what life was really like for her when he was too young to know.

"Before that I had told him bits and pieces. I would use my experience to tell him to stay away from trouble," she said. "When we had that conversation about everything, it was not easy. He was mad. He cried. He punched the wall. We just had to get it out, and it drew us closer together."

After two years at Kilgore, Osborne signed a National Letter of Intent to play for coach Art Briles at Baylor. But a little more than three months later, Briles was fired as Baylor was engulfed in a rape scandal.

The players who had signed with Baylor were not immediately granted their release, much to the anger of many students and their parents, most notably Dorothy Osborne.

"I had been raped and there was no way I was going to let my son go there," she said. "If they had not let him out, I had a lawyer ready to go."

Three weeks later, Baylor let players who had signed under Briles out of their commitments. Osborne chose Oklahoma State.

He was an All-Big 12 player and two-year starter for the OSU Cowboys.

"My mom and dad made every single one of my games," he said.

Mom's rule was he had to earn a degree before he could go to the NFL. In December, he walked across the stage to earn his degree in education.

After the draft, he signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. But the time he spent with his favorite team was short-lived. He was cut on Wednesday.

Dorothy Osborne's son is bright, humble, well-spoken and college-educated.

She had more reasons to quit than most people will ever experience, but they never stopped her from being the person she aspired to become and the mother she willed herself to be.

"To you, what she did is unbelievable, but to me, it was my life. I grew up with it," DeQuinton said. "I am more thankful than ever for who she is. Words ... I can't explain how grateful I am. She was always behind me."

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