Nick Fitzgerald is the starting quarterback for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and he’s one of the most dynamic players in the SEC.
Here’s what you need to know about Fitzgerald.
1. Nick Fitzgerald is in his fourth year in Starkville
After redshirting during his freshman season at Mississippi State in 2014 and serving as Dak Prescott’s backup in 2015, Fitzgerald stepped into the starting role for Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs in 2016. Now a redshirt junior, Fitzgerald is the unquestioned leader of the offense and the team as a whole.
2. Nick Fitzgerald was only offered a scholarship by two schools
Fitzgerald’s team at Richmond Hill High School in Georgia ran the triple option, and his only college offers were from Mississippi State and Middle Tennessee, despite the fact that he’s 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. Bulldogs fans everywhere are probably thrilled that Dan Mullen gave Fitzgerald a shot. Fans elsewhere are probably scratching their heads at how their coaches missed him.
3. Nick Fitzgerald is in good company among SEC dual-threat QBs
While bursting onto the SEC scene in his first year as a starter last season, Fitzgerald joined rarefied air among running quarterbacks in the conference. He started all 13 games for the Bulldogs, and in addition to setting nine school records, he also set SEC records. Fitzgerald’s eight 100-yard rushing games and 7.1 average yards per rush set new SEC marks, and his 1,375 total rushing yards for the season were third in SEC history among quarterbacks behind Johnny Manziel and Cam Newton, both Heisman Trophy winners.
4. Nick Fitzgerald is smart
A finance major, Fitzgerald also has performed well in the classroom during his time in Starkville. In the fall of 2015 — while he was Prescott’s backup — and in the fall 2016 — while he was lighting up the SEC — Fitzgerald was named to the SEC’s Academic Honor Roll.
5. Nick Fitzgerald should be in Heisman Trophy conversations
The numbers that Fitzgerald put up in his first year as the Mississippi State starter compare favorably with some SEC quarterback legends and Heisman Trophy winners. If he improves on his 2016 output and continues to fill the stat sheet through the air and on the ground — and if Mississippi State makes some noise in the SEC West — don’t be surprised to start hearing his name more and more as awards season approaches.