A USA Today first-team All-American as a Michigan State senior, first-round draft pick brings Bengals a resume of high-caliber performance, consistency and character ... Awaiting chance for more playing time in a veteran CB corps, he has opened rookie season as a special teams mainstay (third on team with three tackles), and he also has a sack … Started 38 games for MSU over his final three seasons and last year helped lead the Spartans to No. 1 national rankings in fewest yards allowed per game and lowest third-down conversion percentage ... Was 2013 winner of the Thorpe Award, given annually to college football’s top DB ... His style of play and reliability has inspired favorable comparisons with CB Leon Hall, who has started for Bengals since his first-round selection out of Michigan in 2007.
Career transactions: Selected by Cincinnati in first round of 2014 NFL Draft (24th overall) ... Signed with Bengals on 6-12-14.
2014 highlights: Has played in Games 2-6 .. Inactive for Game 1 due to hip strain ... Has logged five tackles (one for loss), including one sack, and ranks third on team with three special teams tackles ... Made NFL debut on Sept. 14 vs. Atlanta on special teams, with one tackle ... Played on defense for first time on Sept. 21 vs. Tennessee, and logged two tackles, including a three-yard sack of Jake Locker ... Also had one special teams tackle vs. Tennessee ... One special teams tackle on Oct. 5 at New England ... Had three tackles on Oct. 19 at Indianapolis.
College highlights: Played four seasons (2010-13) at Michigan State, playing 44 games with 40 starts ... Started 38 games for MSU over his final three seasons and in ‘13 helped lead the Spartans to No. 1 national rankings in fewest yards allowed per game (248.2) and lowest third-down conversion percentage (27.7) ... Was a USA Today first-team All-American as a senior and the 2013 winner of the Thorpe Award, given annually to college football’s top DB ... Totaled 167 tackles, 10 INTs, 30 total passes defensed, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a blocked FG ... Earned reputation as a strong tackler against the run. 2013—First MSU CB to earn first-team All-America since Harlon Barnett (Cincinnati native from Princeton High School) in 1989 ... First MSU player to win the Thorpe Award since its 1986 inception ... Earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors in 26-14 win over Iowa, with two INTs and two TD-saving tackles ... Had an INT and a forced fumble in win over Michigan that was MSU’s third straight game without allowing a TD. 2012—Earned first-team all-conference honors from league coaches and ESPN.com ... Credited by coaches with no pass completions in his area in two games, and with only one completion in six other contests. 2011—Took over starting CB duties as a sophomore ... Missed two games with injuries but earned honorable mention all-conference from media ... His three INTs included 38-yard return for TD, and he blocked FG vs. Wisconsin. 2010—Played six games as true freshman, missing five with knee injury.
High school: Lettered in football, basketball and track at Twiggs County High School (Jeffersonville, Ga.) ... Two-way player in football, seeing action at WR and CB ... Twice earned all-state honors from Georgia Sports Writers Association... As a senior, helped lead his 11-2 team to a 468-119 advantage in points, catching 40-for-502 with 11 TDs, getting two TDs on his nine INTs and averaging 27.2 yards on punt returns.
Personal: Hometown is Dry Branch, Ga. ... Communications major at Michigan State ... First name is pronounced “dar-KWEZ” and last name is pronounced “deh-NARD.”
As he prepares for another one of those Wild Wild Card Games Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium against the Ravens (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12), Andrew Whitworth is getting pep talks from his wife and inspiration from Anthony Munoz.
The Bengals this Friday will present a $150,000 NFL Club Matching Field Grant to Harrison (Ohio) High School, for improvements to the Wildcats football stadium and track-and-field complex.
The Bengals’ effort to get the upcoming three-game home stand on local television passed its first test Thursday when the club announced ticket sales for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium reached the threshold to clear the game for a live broadcast in the home market on Cincinnati’s Channel 12, Dayton, Ohio’s Channel 7, and Channel 27 in Lexington, Ky.