Third-grade wish comes true for Cowboys rookie DeMarvion Overshown

DeMarvion Overshown's NFL draft profile (0:41)

Check out the highlights that contributed to DeMarvion Overshown's career at Texas. (0:41)

FRISCO, Texas -- DeMarvion Overshown was like a lot of Texas boys in the third grade. He wanted to grow up and play for the Dallas Cowboys. Put it out there in the yearbook for everybody to see.

When the Cowboys selected him in the third round of this year's draft, he went to social media, proving that his dream was now a reality.

“The funny thing is, I wasn’t even like a big, huge Cowboy fan growing up, but I knew if I was going to play at one place and I had the choice, it was going to be the Cowboys,” Overshown said. “It’s the hometown team.”

Overshown grew up in East Texas. He attended Arp High School, a little more than two hours from AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys’ home in Arlington, Texas, off Interstate 20. It is the typical small Texas town where high school football rules.

“I tell you what, if we were [playing] out of town, the last person had to turn the lights off and lock the store door,” said Overshown’s coach, Dale Irwin, who spent 19 years as the Tigers' coach. “Sports is the community. Our town’s not real big. We have about two, three stores right on the railroad tracks. A major road runs through it, but the town has sports. They’re a big part of it.”

Overshown made an impression on Irwin as a freshman, getting called up to the varsity for the district playoffs, playing outside linebacker and defensive end at the Class 3A school. As a sophomore, he moved to free safety.

“He said, ‘Coach, whatever makes us better,’” Irwin said. “I think that year he had 200 tackles. You couldn’t run on us. He had probably 20 tackles for loss that year from the safety spot, as well as 10-15 interceptions. I can’t remember, but he really took off for us.”

By his junior year, he had 60 to 70 colleges recruiting him, from Alabama to Ohio State, but he chose Texas.

He arrived in Austin as a safety but left as a linebacker. In 2022, he was an All-Big 12 selection with a career-high 96 tackles with 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, two quarterback pressures and five pass breakups.

“He has absolute extreme athleticism and ... he’s got a very high IQ,” Irwin said of the 6-foot-4, 224-pound Overshown. “You can scheme with him like they do with Micah [Parsons]. Move him around to different spots, put him on different platforms, different levels, and he can get after the quarterback. He’s going to have to put on some weight, which he can do. They’ll get him on the training table, but if he’s like 245-250, he’ll be an absolute terror, I’m telling you.”

On draft night, Overshown said the Cowboys’ plan was to play him “anywhere and everywhere.”

“My versatility is really what separates my game from a lot of people, and I’m ready to show that,” Overshown said.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s plan is to use Overshown first as a weakside linebacker. At the rookie minicamp, he was the only linebacker working with position coach Scott McCurley, but Quinn sees the possibility of him doing more.

“When we can get to that spot where you’re interchangeable pieces, it seems more complex, but really, I would say the package can be easier when we’re just featuring people in different spots,” Quinn said.

At the moment, Overshown is penciled in behind linebacker Damone Clark on defense, but Quinn has shown the ability to use players at different spots. Parsons has played off-the-ball linebacker and pass-rusher. He has used Jayron Kearse at linebacker and safety. Overshown will have to show he is a quick learner.

“He has a plan for me, and I’m excited to get in that defense,” Overshown said.

Overshown is excited just to be a Cowboy. A week after the draft, he went to an Arp elementary school to talk and play with the students. Maybe he related the story of his third-grade yearbook to them. Maybe one day one of them will see the same realization of the dream.

“Getting that call, I’ll never forget that moment,” Overshown said. “The tears instantly just running down my face, the love and the joy that I heard from my family when they saw my name come up across the screen as a Dallas Cowboy, I’ll never forget it.”

But now he has to earn everything. Even the star on his helmet, with coach Mike McCarthy carrying on a tradition that started years ago with rookies.

“It’s missing a star, but I’m OK with it. I’m gonna earn it,” he said. “That’s what I want to do. I actually want it that way. I want to be able to earn that star, to be able to know the vets trust me. So whatever I’ve got to do to get that star on my helmet, that’s what I’m going to do.”