Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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May 13, 2014

Mabank alum to sign with Cowboys

Athens — Every kid dreams of the chance to one day say they made it to the National Football League.

For former Mabank High School and University of Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Kolton Browning, that dream became a reality on Sunday night.

Browning was not selected in the NFL draft, but the Dallas Cowboys did make a call to bring him in as an undrafted free agent.

“We have kids out here all the time that are running around in Kolton Browning ULM jerseys, and talk about him,” Mabank athletic director Jared Wingfield said. “They look up to him, and want to talk with him, when he comes and works out in the weight room.”

Browning will have a chance to come to Valley Ranch, and take part in the team physical this week. If he passes the physical, he will be able to sign a contract later in the week, and attend rookie minicamp on Friday.

Current Cowboy players, who have come into the organization as undrafted free agents, are Tony Romo, Dan Bailey, Barry Church, Miles Austin and Lance Dunbar.

“All I needed was a chance,” Browning said on his twitter page. “Now time to go make the best of it.”

Wingfield said even though he was not here during his time as the quarterback, the impact of Browning has been seen throughout his time in the community.

“I think it sends a message to kids in our community that if there is something that you really want, and will work for, the opportunity is out there,” Wingfield said. “If that is what you aspire to do, then you can go out there and do it.”

Brownsboro graduate and ULM tight end Nick Jones, who played with Kolton, said, “I think it's an awesome experience, a native of a small town in Texas, going to Dallas, that's awesome. Just to get that chance, and a chance to prove his self, is an honor.”

In his senior season for the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, Browning threw for 2,178 yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

He left ULM with many awards and accomplishments during his 4-year career.

In 2012, he was named the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, a Maxwell Award Watch List member, a member of the All-Louisiana Second team and an All-Sun Belt second-team selection.

He was given the same award as an All-Louisiana second-team selection in 2011, and in 2010 was recognized as a freshman All-American by College Football News, the Louisiana Freshman of the Year, and All-Louisiana second team selection and an All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention.

“I think that Kolton has put Mabank on the map, and I think people started getting on Google Maps to see where Mabank was in the State of Texas,” Wingfield said. “He is a hard worker, and I have been most impressed with the work ethic, and how he dealt with playing through injury.”

Wingfield said he and coach Jimmy Cantrell, who was the football coach during Kolton's career at Mabank, have talked about his style of play for many years.

“He and I have talked about Kolton long before this ever happened,” Wingfield said. “Everything he has always said is that he is a game changer who could lead by example. He is the type of kid that could go to ULM, and he can raise the level of play there. Hopefully, he can have the opportunity at Dallas to do the same thing.”

Wingfield said with a chance for Browning to be close to home, it gives him a chance to possibly come back to the high school, and tell the athletes about his experience.

“I think this is going to catapult him, and give him an opportunity to give back to the community,” Wingfield said. “We will try to have him come back, and help with camps, or to come back and talk with the kids about what it takes to make it.”

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