PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you drive around Pittsburgh, you won’t see many Dallas Cowboys flags flying outside.
But there’s a reason behind a lone-star flag flying in Pine-Richland as native son Ben DiNucci was drafted by Dallas on Saturday.
“I haven’t cried in a while,” DiNucci said. “In that moment I had so many emotions coming out. Having my family here and some neighbors hooting and hollering from their decks…it was an unbelievable feeling.”
“HOW ABOUT DEM COWBOYS! LETS GO! @dallascowboys”
— Ben DiNucci (@B_DiNucci6) April 26, 2020
The Cowboys notified DiNucci during the sixth round that they planned to pick him in the seventh, which left him with an agonizing wait.
“It was crazy, it was probably 45 minutes before because they had a middle pick in the seventh round. As soon as that started, you know how it is, every pick takes five to ten minutes so I was sitting around for probably 30-45 minutes and honestly that was probably the most anxious I have ever been in my life.”
“Listen to the excitement from @B_DiNucci6 & his family as Jerry Jones & Mike McCarthy give them a call! Clapping hands sign #CowboysDraft”
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) April 25, 2020
That anxiety was well worth it, especially considering his past.
After high school, his only power-five offer was at Pitt, where he became a starter as a sophomore, but was replaced late in the year.
With the writing on the wall, he transferred to James Madison, where he put up impressive numbers. But not many thought he would be selected last weekend.
“That’s kind of been my M.O. for the last seven or eight years,” DiNucci said. ”I have been one of those guys who have been late bloomers and always kind of been doubted whether it was high school, or leaving Pitt and going to JMU. I’ve had some bad games in my career and some people have let me know about it…every morning when I wake up, those are the things that drive me.”
That Western Pennsylvania work ethic may be why he’s headed to Dallas.
DiNucci has come a long way from his days under center at Pine-Richland, and he knows he has a lot more work ahead of him.
“For me that’s the biggest thing is…when I get down there, whenever that may be, that I show those guys in that organization…the coaches that they are not going to be disappointed with using a Draft selection on me.”