Top Emerging Players: No. 3 James Castleman

We continue our list of the Top 10 Emerging Players for 2011. To be eligible for this list you either have to be a returning player that has never had any regular playing duty on the team, be a newcomer, or redshirt player that has yet to break into the lineup. The criteria is also need on the team, whether as a starter or in a critical spot on the depth chart.

No. 3 - James Castleman, DT
6-4, 290, Fr.
Amarillo, Texas

Castleman came in for the first semester of summer school right after Memorial Day which gives him a leg up on the other freshmen defensive tackles. He showed up in good shape and looking the part at 6-4, 290 pounds. Now he has had the whole summer in the weight room with Rob Glass and Company and it shows.

There is a reason that the Cowboys never gave up on Castleman after he committed to Texas Tech despite a good recruiting experience with the Cowboys. Gundy had watched tape and also saw Castleman on the basketball court and realized the Cowboys were contending for an athlete with superior potential.

Gundy called him a "potential Gerald McCoy" after the OU defensive tackle that became an All-American and a first-round draft choice of Tampa Bay in the NFL.

Castleman is very athletic for his size and had 143 tackles and 31 tackles for losses combined his last two seasons at Amarillo. He is also a bright player with football smarts that will allow him to hopefully play older in thinking his way through the game as a freshman.

The expectation needs to be for him to play this season as the Cowboys need the help and need to build a solid two-three man rotation at each of the tackle positions. He should really benefit from being around players like Richetti Jones, Jamie Blatnick, Nigel Nicholas and Cooper Bassett.

Cowboy fans, as well as defensive coordinator and line coach Bill Young, should be anxious to see what Castleman is playing like around the last week of August.

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