Corrigan, Texas (KTRE) - LaDarius Hamilton did not hear his name called in the 2020 NFL Draft but it did not take longer after to have his dream come true.
The Dallas Cowboys called and offered an unsigned free agent deal.
“I grew up a Cowboys fan,” Hamilton said. “My family has always rooted for Dallas. It was a dream come true. I was looking forward to this for a long time. I was very excited.”
The Corrigan native spent the last four years in the Shadows of the Dallas Cowboys, playing for the University of North Texas in Denton. He left the program tied for sixth in career sacks and sixth all-time in program history for tackles for loss). Hamilton finished 2019 with 39 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, a team-high 8.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 12 games. His junior season might have been his best work, landing him first-team status on the All-Conference USA Team.
“It is amazing to me how many times you look through and find two or three guys with not one offer,” UNT’s head coach Seth Littrell said at the 2019 THSCA convention this past summer when asked about Hamilton. “You watch them on tape and there is no doubt they can play on your team.”
Hamilton was not just a leader on the field but also off the field, earning a spot on the UNT football Leadership council every year since his sophomore season. His leadership and play earned him the chance to wear No.75 for one game in 2018. That number is special because it had not been worn since it was retired to honor “Mean” Joe Green.
“That was crazy for me,” Hamilton said. “He is the mark of a defensive lineman. Not just at North Texas but everywhere. NFL, Hall of Fame, Top 100. I did not know what to think. What helped me was that he came up to me before the game and was like, ‘I had some good games in that jersey and I had some bad ones. Just go out there and play.’ I was like, ‘Thank you. Thank you. That makes me feel so much more comfortable.’"
Hamilton’s drive was taught to him before he ever played a game in Corrigan. It started on the practice field. There is a sign at the field. On one side it says “We win championships on this field TODAY” and on the other side “Out hit, out hustle, out last”. Those phrases have stuck with Hamilton and it is the mindset he is taking to the Cowboys practice facility as he looks to prove he belongs.
“I had to work hard at Corrigan," Hamilton said. "Going into North Texas I wasn’t the best player heading into there. I had to put in work to be the player I am today. It has to be the same thing when I step on the Cowboys practice field. I am ready to prove I belong.”