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Weekly Game Balls: Preseason Week 3

Introducing a new feature at Lone Star Struck – Weekly Games Balls. Every week we will choose an offensive and defensive star of the game.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Felix Jones.

Felix JonesOne of the most exciting things to come out of Dallas in recent years is the young and talented Mr. Felix Jones. Every time Jones takes the field it’s like a whole new ball game and what’s intriguing is he’s not even the starting running back. Some have dubbed Felix “The Cat” because of his speed. Once he breaks into the open field he revs it up, leaving the competition in the dust. While he’s still new and fresh, he gives the Cowboys faithful something to believe in and hopes that it will last for years to come.

In last week’s preseason game against the 49ers Felix Jones was the only Cowboy to reach the endzone. Jones appeared in only two quarters of the game had five carries for a total of 23 yards averaging 4.6 yards per carry. While those are low numbers keep in mind it’s preseason. Jones’ longest gain was a 13 yard run that in turn lead to the lone touchdown of the night eight minutes later.

We expect great things from Felix Jones this season after being cheated out of his ‘rookie of the year’ title last season due to injury.

Star50

This week’s defensive game ball goes to Jay Ratliff.

Jay RatliffJay Ratliff has to be one of the most underrated defensive players in the game. The Cowboys’ nose tackle had a career high 7.5 sacks last season earning himself his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ratliff became the starter in 2007 when Jason Ferguson went down with injury. Ferguson was later traded, Ratliff permanently took over and the Cowboys never looked back.

Jay “The Rat” Ratliff is coming off his best season to date and there is no doubt that he is looking to return with the same aggresive attitude. At only 28 years old and a contract through 2012, expect to celebrate many more tackles and incredible sacks by The Rat, as he slams his fist to the ground and howls at the moon.

In his appearance in last week’s game Ratliff completed two tackles, both solo, and a sack, only a taste of what is to come this season.

Star50

Congratulations to The Cat and The Rat for their great play. There is no doubt we will have these two superstars featured again this season.

Tashard Choice: The Peoples Choice

Tashard “Duece” Choice was born on November 20, 1984 in Thomasville,Georgia. Tashard attended Lovejoy Highschool where he wore #2, thats where he got his nickname “Duece”. Choice was a finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman and graduated in the top 20 of his class with a 3.9 gpa.

Tashard attended Georgia Tech where he earned Second Team All ACC and ESPN All Bowl Team honors in 2006 and ACC All Academic Team, First Team All ACC and Honorable Mention All America by Sports Illustrated 2007.Tashard Started his College football career in 2003 at Oklahoma where he redshirted his freshman year.

In 2004 Tashard served as a back up for true freshman Adrian Peterson. Peterson went on to be a Heisman Trophy finalist and Oklahoma found itself in the BCS title game once again. Tashard Choice only took 22 carries and gained 100 yards the entire year (all in two games). His best game at Oklahoma saw him garner 71 yards on 16 carries against Texas Tech. At the end of the season, his mother fell ill and Tashard Choice applied for a medical hardship to return home and play for Georgia Tech. His hardship was granted and he transferred to Tech by Spring 2005.

In 2005 Tashard arrived at Georgia Tech as a Sophomore and found himself behind P.J. Daniels on the depth chart, Daniels and Choice combined for over 150 all purpose yards per game and 11 touchdowns. Tashard Choice’s most notable appearance occurred in the upset of then #3 Miami Hurricanes. P. J. Daniels was injured in practice so Tashard Choice was announced the starter for the game. He carried the football 29 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. The victory guaranteed Tech a bowl appearance and solidified Tashard Choice’s role as a competent starter for the 2006 season.

In 2006 Tashard lead the Yellow Jacket rushing attack. becoming the first Yellow Jacket to rush for 1,000 yards since P.J. Daniels in 2003. Tashard Choice set several Tech records in 2006. He rushed for over 100 yards per game 9 times and had 7 straight 100 yard efforts, both Tech records. Tashard Choice accounted for 12 of Tech’s 42 offensive touchdowns. Tashard Choice along with All-American Calvin Johnson and senior quarterback Reggie Ball took Tech to the Atlantic Coast Conference Title Game as the Coastal Division Champions. Choice would also lead Tech to its tenth straight bowl game against West Virginia in the 2007 Gator Bowl. Choice sliced and diced his way through opponents in 2006 and is a preseason pick for several 2007 Heisman Trophy lists.

In 2007 Tashard lead the Yellow Jackets powerful ground game behind four returning starters on the offensive line and veteran fullback Mike Cox. As the reigning ACC Rushing Champion, Tashard Choice was looking to improve upon 2006’s 9 win season with new offensive coordinator John Bond featuring the single back formation. Tashard Choice currently had 1,310 yards rushing on 249 attempts and 10 touchdowns even with injuries to his hamstring and to his knee. Tashard Choice concluded his NCAA career on the “Smurf Turf” of Boise against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the Humanitarian Bowl. He was used in a limited role in Georgia Tech’s 40-28 defeat. Tashard Choice best statistical game was against the University of Miami, posting 204 yards rushing with a sore hamstring. he also recorded his first passing touchdown of his career to Taylor Bennett.

Tashard’s Pro Career started in 2008 when he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the NFL Draft made his first touchdown during the first 2008 pre-season game against San Diego. Choice made his first start agaist the Pittsburgh Steelers running for 88 yards against the then #1 rushing defense in the league. Tashard finished the season with 472 yards off of 92 attempts, He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and had two touchdowns. Tashard has plenty more seasons to contribute to the Dallas Cowboys like he did in his 3 game starting span with Marion Barber going down with a toe injury and Felix Jones being out all season and with the performances Tashard had he has grasped his role in the Dallas Cowboys offense for 2009.