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James Madison quarterback Ben DiNucci (6) looks for an open teammate and throws the ball down the field.

Millions of football players dream to be the face of “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys. Well, former JMU quarterback Ben DiNucci now has the opportunity.

DiNucci was drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round with the 231st pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Dallas has a “franchise” quarterback in Dak Prescott, though as of today he hasn’t signed a franchise tag contract, and the deadline for him to sign is July 15. He hasn’t been participating in the virtual offseason and is asking for big money that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might not bite at. Prescott already has declined a contract of $145 million for five years. He wants high guaranteed money, and he wants it now. 

Many say that if Prescott doesn’t play, the job will go to recently acquired veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. However, DiNucci brings aspects to the game that Dalton can’t.

Dalton brings veteran leadership, but he won’t bring that winning spark. Dalton led the Cincinnati Bengals to a 2-11 record in 2019 and threw 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 13 games.

DiNucci threw only 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the 2018 season for the Dukes. Then, in 2019, DiNucci turned his play around with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions. DiNucci has a winning mindest, losing only two games out of 16 he played for the Dukes this past season.

Some might say DiNucci played against easy schools being in the FCS. However, the FCS is no joke as it’s produced many NFL players to date, such as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Dalton can mentor DiNucci, but DiNucci is a winner at heart and has proven so, while Dalton is a quarterback struggling to stay in the league.

“Certainly no one is saying he is [the next Tony Romo], but if you remember, [Romo] was a college free agent. [DiNucci] has some of those type of tools, instinctive and seems to make plays,” COO and son of Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, said in a Sports Illustrated article.

Dalton might win the job because he’ll be able to adapt faster  than DiNucci, coming in as an inexperienced NFL quarterback. If Prescott doesn’t play and Dalton “stinks it up” on the field, the job will be DiNucci’s.

Contact Andrew Oliveros at oliverab@dukes.jmu.edu. For more sports coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.