By JOEL COLEMAN
Dak Prescott’s Mississippi State career is inching ever closer to its end.
The MSU senior quarterback will play his final regular season game on Saturday when the Bulldogs host Ole Miss in the 88th Battle for the Golden Egg at 6:15 p.m. at Davis Wade Stadium.
Few could have predicted the impact Prescott would make on the Mississippi State program when he committed to the Bulldogs over a half-decade ago. Five years later and Prescott owns 38 school records and is in the Heisman Trophy discussion for the second-straight season.
Wednesday, on the weekly Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference, MSU head coach Dan Mullen reflected on times with his quarterback and the things that Mississippi State will miss once Prescott moves on.
“You just get used to having him around,” Mullen said. “He’s been around for five years and we’ve been working together for five years. That’s a long time to be together. Every day, he has such a great attitude in everything that he does. He’s a great leader for the team, then all of a sudden, come January, we’re going to be in a team meeting and it’ll be the first time in five years he’s not in that meeting or offseason workouts. He’s brought so much to the program with his leadership and with his attitude and with his work ethic.”
Prescott’s career has given him a nationally-recognized name and earned him respect from all over the country. That’s no different, even in rival territory. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has watched on as Prescott has become one of the SEC’s all-time greats.
“Number one, he is one of the best leaders that our conference has seen the last few years,” Freeze said. “It is evident that he makes everyone around him believe in what they’re doing and how they’re doing it and what they’re going to accomplish. He’s that type of leader and then you combine with that a guy that has talent but also has tremendous work ethic to improve in every area that he can. It makes for a special player.”
A trip to New York for this year’s Heisman Trophy ceremony is still very much on the table for Prescott should he perform well in Saturday’s Egg Bowl. Mullen would like to see his signal caller get such a chance, but knows there’s still work to be done.
“So far this season, I think he’s proven to be one of the best players in the country, but the season is not over yet,” Mullen said. “I don’t really get into all that stuff until we’re done playing. Let’s look at the whole body of work and see how he performs this weekend and judge it from there. I think everybody rushes to judgement from one week to the next. One week, this guy has (the Heisman Trophy) absolutely sealed up, then the next week, someone else has it sealed up. I think it’s better to just wait until the end of the season and see what everyone does.”
The emotions should be running high for Prescott in Saturday’s game as he and 14 other MSU seniors play their final game in Starkville. For some players, it might be a tall task to overcome those feelings. Mullen isn’t too worried about Prescott.
“I don’t know that we’ll have to calm him down,” Mullen said. “I think he understands. He’s played in so many games that he understands the situation and he’s going to have to go out there and perform for us to win. I think the most important thing for him is to help put the team in a position to win. That’s what he’s always done for us. I think it’ll kind of be an emotional deal for him and for everybody. He’s been such a big part of our family. I think he’ll come out and get through all that and get back to his focus which is how to play at the highest level possible.”
Then, once the game concludes, Prescott will leave Davis Wade Stadium one last time and leave behind some giant cleats to fill.
“He shows up every day and gives you everything that he has,” Mullen said. “He’s going to be missed. There’s going to be a void from where he was.”