Cowboys rookie tight end Jake Ferguson was born Jan. 18, 1999. Former Cowboys fullback Daryl Johnston played only one game after Ferguson’s birth, and that game came before Ferguson’s first birthday.
Yet, when the Cowboys made Ferguson a fourth-round draft choice he requested to wear Johnston’s No. 48 knowing the history of it.
His grandfather, former longtime Wisconsin head football coach Barry Alvarez, worked with Johnston in the Fox broadcast booth a few years ago.
“(Alvarez) actually texted me and was like, ‘You better not be throwing shade on 48,'” Ferguson said, via Rob Phillips of the team website.
Johnston earned two Pro Bowls in 11 seasons while serving as the lead blocker for Emmitt Smith and helping protect Troy Aikman.
“Moose and (No.) 48,” Ferguson said with reverence. “Some guys are like, ‘Oh, he’s (wearing) 48.’ I’m like, ‘You guys don’t know who wore 48.'”
He learned to block at Wisconsin and showed potential as a receiver with a career-high 46 catches last season.
“We need it,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “The play style that we’ve established here, he definitely fits into that. But the versatility to play on the ball, off the ball, we talked about it a little bit. He has experience already playing in a pro punt formation (on special teams), just little things like that, just because of the way Paul (Chryst) plays up there at Wisconsin. It’s definitely that we need more of, and I think Jake’s an excellent fit for us.”