His name is pronounced "DAR-kwez duh-NARD." His cousin, Alfonzo Dennard, is a cornerback with the Patriots. Two-way standout as a Georgia prep. As a senior in 2009, he caught 11 touchdown passes, returned two of his nine interceptions for scores and ran back two punts for touchdowns. Also lettered in basketball and track. Saw action in six games (two starts at boundary corner) as a true freshman in 2010, recording 11 tackles, zero pass breakups and zero interceptions with two tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Did not see action in two early season games (coach's decision) and missed the final five games with a knee injury. Made 11 starts at boundary corner in '11 and totaled 42-3-3 with one tackle for loss. Tied a Spartans bowl-game record with two interceptions in an Outback Bowl victory over Georgia, including a 38-yard touchdown return. Missed three games with an ankle injury. Started 13 games at field corner in '12, tallying 52-7-3 with 3.5 tackles for loss. After the season, he underwent double hernia surgery and was limited in spring drills. Was the Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation's best defensive back in '13, starting 14 times at boundary corner and recording 62-10-4 with 3.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Became the first Spartans cornerback to earn unanimous first-team All-America honors and also was selected as the Big Ten's Defensive Back of the Year. Team captain. Did not do drills at the NFL Scouting Combine because of a left hamstring injury.
Looks the part -- well-proportioned, muscular physique with strong calves and thin ankles. Good press strength. Controlled, efficient pedal. Field-fast with competitive play speed. Transitions cleanly in man-off coverage. Has very good eyes and anticipation and reacts quickly to what he sees. Good pattern recognition -- sorts out what he sees quickly. Stays in the hip pocket downfield. Swift speed turn. Likeable personality. Accountable with leadership traits.
Has been slowed by injuries and durability needs to be examined closely (double hernia surgery). Showed some hip stiffness in combine drills. Was not asked to play a lot of zone coverage. Could stand to get functionally stronger and work to disengage from blocks. Could show more consistent willingness to support the run and set a hard edge. Selective physicality.
Solidly built, athletic, instinctive, press-man cover man who took his game to another level as a senior. Brings intensity, confidence and competitiveness to the corner. Offers size to lock horns with bigger receivers, and has a ceiling as a No. 2 cover man.