A USA Today first-team All-American as a Michigan State senior in 2013, the 2014 first-round draft pick has stepped up his contribution after playing behind veterans as a rookie ... Has an INT and three total passes defensed ... Second on team last year in special teams tackles (10) ... Started 38 games for Michigan State over his final three seasons, and in 2013 he helped lead the Spartans to No. 1 national rankings in fewest yards allowed per game and lowest third-down conversion percentage.
Career transactions: Selected by Cincinnati in first round of 2014 NFL Draft (24th overall) ... Signed with Bengals on 6-12-14.
2015 highlights: Has played in Games 1-6 ... Has 12 tackles on defense and three passes defensed, and is tied for third in special teams tackles (three) ... On Sept. 13 at Oakland, had perfectly timed hit on WR Seth Davis for a third-down pass defensed, and also had three tackles ... On Oct 4 vs. Kansas City, helped fill the void from injury to Adam Jones, logging a season-best six tackles and and a third-down pass defensed in the fourth quarter that forced the Chiefs to settle for a 29-yard field goal ... On Oct. 11 vs Seattle, logged two tackles and teamed with WR Brandon Tate to down a punt at the Seattle two in the second quarter ... Recorded first career INT on Oct. 18 at Buffalo with a graceful leaping grab of an E.J. Manuel pass in the second quarter, and he returned it 10 yards to the Buffalo 45.
2014: Played in 14 games (Games 2-7 and 9-16) .. Inactive for Games 1 (hip) and 8 (hamstring) ... Logged seven tackles on defense (one for loss) ... 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 ... Had three tackles on defense Oct. 19 at Indianapolis ... Two special teams tackles on Oct. 26 vs. Baltimore ... One tackle on defense, a pass defensed, and one special teams tackle on Nov. 16 at New Orleans ... Led team with two special teams tackles on Dec. 7 vs. Pittsburgh ... One tackle on defense Dec. 14 at Cleveland ... In Wild Card playoff on 1-5-15 at Indianapolis, had two tackles on defense and forced a fumble by RB Daniel Herron.
One game matters: Despite lettering four years at Twiggs Co. High School (Jeffersonville, Ga.) — and helping lead the team to an 11-2 record as a senior — Dennard went virtually unrecruited by colleges. He did not have a viable scholarship offer, even from a junior college, entering his final prep game. But fate cast him in that last game against Dooly County High and WR Keith Mumphrey, who had already signed with Michigan State. MSU coaches, on hand to watch Mumphrey, saw Dennard post an outstanding performance against Mumphrey and convinced head coach Mark Dantonio to sign him. “I probably wouldn’t have played any more football (if not for that game),” Dennard says. “I’d still be around the Macon (Ga.) area, working a nine-to-five.”
College: Played four seasons (2010-13) at Michigan State, playing 44 games with 40 starts ... Started 38 games for Michigan State over his final three seasons, and in 2013 he helped lead the Spartans to No. 1 national rankings in fewest yards allowed per game and lowest third-down conversion percentage ... USA Today first-team All-American as senior in ’13, and was named winner of Thorpe Award, given annually to college football’s top DB ... Totaled 167 career 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 ... In 2013, became 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.
Personal: Hometown is Dry Branch, Ga. ... Lettered in football, basketball and track at Twiggs County High School (Jeffersonville, Ga.) ... Two-way player in prep football, seeing action at WR and CB ... Communications major at Michigan State ... First name is pronounced “dar-KWEZ” and last name is pronounced “deh-NARD.”
The 2015 partnership between the Bengals and the Campbell Soup Company in the Tackle Hunger program has resulted in the donation of more than 21,000 cans of soup to the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank.
A few takes after Peyton Manning Marshal Dillon-ed the Panthers in Sunday night’s Super Bowl and rode off into a Carolina sunset. For one, how good are the Bengals tackles like Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth?
SAN FRANCISCO - Super Bowl 50. But isn’t it like the 49 before and always about the quarterbacks Sunday (6:30 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) when Denver’s Peyton Manning tries to stave off the future fittingly worn by Carolina’s No. 1 named Cam Newton? Boomer Esiason paved the way for Manning in Cincinnati.
Darqueze Dennard speaks in the Bengals locker room following the Bengals 34-21 victory over the Bills. Dennard recorded his first NFL interception as the Bengals advance to 6-0 on the season.