In an open letter to fans Monday, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott said that after five years in Starkville, there would be tears once the realization that his Bulldogs career is over sets in.
Prescott was talking about himself, but he may as well have been speaking for his coach. Dan Mullen spoke Wednesday about how much his senior quarterback has meant to Mississippi State.
“He’s brought so much to this program with his leadership, with his attitude, with his work ethic and how he shows up every day to give you everything that he has,” Mullen said. “It’s going to be missed.”
And with one game left in the regular season, everything Prescott has had — everything Mullen is going to miss — makes him a contender for college football’s most prestigious award.
This year, Prescott has thrown for 3,159 yards, 23 touchdowns and three interceptions while rushing for 478 yards and nine touchdowns. Should that make him a front-runner in the Heisman Trophy race?
“So far this season, I think he’s proved to be one of the best players in the country,” Mullen said, before offering a caveat. “But the season’s not over yet. 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 then judge it from there.”
Mullen said judging the Heisman contenders during the season is a waste of time. There’s too much change, too much unpredictability and rarely a full picture.
“One week, this guy’s the absolute, he’s got it sealed up,” he said. “Then the next week, oh no, no, this guy now has it sealed up. I think it’s best to just wait for the end of the season and see what everybody does.”
Well, the end of the season is fast approaching. This weekend, Prescott’s final game in Davis Wade Stadium will be the Egg Bowl, as No. 21 Mississippi State hosts No. 18 Ole Miss. Last year, the Rebels took home the Golden Egg, but Prescott is set on reacquiring it.
Mullen was asked if that final game — Prescott’s final shot against his rival — could possibly get too emotional for the senior quarterback.
“He’s played in so many games and he understands the situation,” Mullen said. “He’s going to have to go out there and perform for us to win. That’s the most important thing for him. I think he’ll come out and he’ll get through all that.”
But once he does, win or lose, Saturday’s game will mark the end of an era for Mississippi State and Mullen. And the tears might come.
“You get used to having a guy around,” Mullen said. “Every day he has such a great attitude in everything that he does. There’s going to be a void from where he was.”