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ASU’s 50 Best Professional Athletes: No. 13 Football’s Darren Woodson

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Up next in our countdown of the 50 best professional athletes to attend ASU is one of the best Dallas Cowboys of all time.

Darren Woodson #28

After walking on to the Arizona State football team in 1988, Darren Woodson flipped a four-year collegiate career into a 13-year professional tenure.

Woodson was born and raised in Phoenix, and played running back and linebacker at Maryvale High School. He played outside linebacker at ASU, garnering All-Pac-10 second team honors during his senior year.

Following his time with the Sun Devils, Woodson was chosen by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-1, 219 pounds, Woodson would have been undersized as a linebacker, and Dallas subsequently converted him into a defensive back.

He was considered to be a complete player at strong safety, combining the devastating tackling ability of a linebacker with the coverage skills of a top defensive back.

In his second NFL season, Woodson earned a starting position at strong safety, helping lead the Cowboys to their first of three Super Bowls during the 1990’s (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX). Along with his second Super Bowl, Woodson reached the first of his five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances next season in 1994.

Woodson spent all 13 years of his NFL career with the Cowboys. He currently stands as the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles (813 solo), having recorded over 100 more takedowns than the second player on the list—former Sun Devil Jim Jeffcoat.

Since his retirement, Woodson has served as an analyst with ESPN. In 2015, the Cowboys added Woodson into their Ring of Honor.