QB Prescott returns to MSU for senior season
STARKVILLE – Quarterback Dak Prescott says he’s returning to Mississippi State for his senior season with the goal of making sure the program isn’t a “one-hit wonder.”
Prescott made his announcement on Wednesday during a news conference at the school. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder from Haughton, Louisiana, had a breakout season for the Bulldogs in 2014, throwing for 3,449 yards, 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also ran for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns.
His performance helped Mississippi State have one of the best seasons in school history.
The Bulldogs were the No. 1 team in the nation for five weeks during the middle of the season before losing three of their final four games.
Prescott – who was briefly mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate during Mississippi State’s nine-game winning streak to start the season – said watching the NFL playoffs over the weekend helped solidify his decision.
“You’re talking about Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, some of those guys who had a chance to leave early in their career, but didn’t, they decided to come back for another year,” Prescott said. “I want to do that as well to refine my skills. I think this is another year for Mississippi State to compete for a national championship and an SEC championship.”
Prescott has drawn comparisons to former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow – both for his college success and perceived lack of professional potential. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was the offensive coordinator at Florida when Tebow was the quarterback.
Prescott said he received an evaluation from the NFL about his potential draft status, but didn’t divulge details. He said the information wasn’t particularly important to his decision.
“I was involved the whole process, but I don’t know if I was ever certain or uncertain about anything,” Mullen said. “When you’re involved in the process, you feel good that you’re going to come to a good solution, a good conclusion about what you’re going to do. That open dialogue obviously helps. It certainly makes everything more comfortable for everybody.”
Prescott came to Mississippi State with the reputation of a run-first quarterback, but he’s quickly proven proficient in the pocket. His passing accuracy improved from 58.4 percent as a sophomore to 61.6 percent in 2014.
He already owns Mississippi State career records in total yards (7,516) and total touchdowns (72) and will shatter the school record in career yards passing with a decent senior season. He has a 14-6 record as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback.
Prescott will have some playmakers returning with him next season, including receiver De’Runnya Wilson, who caught a team-high 47 passes for 680 yards and nine touchdowns.
But the Bulldogs lose leading rusher Josh Robinson, who declared for the NFL draft in December, and starting offensive linemen Dillon Day, Ben Beckwith and Blaine Clausell.
Prescott has already earned his degree in educational psychology and is pursuing his master’s degree.
“We have a great team coming back and I think we can be better,” Prescott said. “We don’t want to be a one-hit wonder. We want to be a team that competes consistently, year in and year out. We expect to get back to No. 1.”
By DAVID BRANDT, AP Sports Writer