Dak Prescott enjoyed a historic season in 2014. The junior led Mississippi State to its first No. 1 ranking in school history, which was held from Week 8 to Week 13.
As the Bulldogs rolled through a 9-0 start, Prescott emerged as the SEC’s top quarterback. The junior garnered Heisman hype and drew comparisons former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who won the award in 2007.
But Mississippi State’s run atop college football came to an end as the Bulldogs fell to Alabama in Week 12, prior to suffering blowouts in its final two games. Prescott’s play coincided with the team’s struggles as he fell off the Heisman radar with lackluster performances during his final four games.
Still, the junior had a career season with 3,449 yards, 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions passing and 986 yards and 14 touchdowns on 210 rushing attempts. Prescott was one of the few true stars in a down year for SEC quarterbacks.
Aside from Alabama’s Blake Sims, the junior was one of the few signal callers in the conference to find consistency. South Carolina’s Dylan Thompson was the SEC’s leading passer in 2014, edging out the dual-threat QB by 125 yards. Thompson also made 55 more passing attempts than Prescott, who also ranked No. 8 in rushing yards.
Thompson was far from a star quarterback for the Gamecocks, as were Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace and Kentucky’s Patrick Towles. But that’s who the SEC’s top five passers were outside of Prescott and Sims.
Prescott opted to return to Starkville for his final season, rather than test the NFL Draft. In 2015, the rising senior will be the most talked about quarterback in the conference entering the season. The conference still lacks star power with many teams facing quarterback departures.
Aside from Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs, Prescott doesn’t seem to have a true contender to the throne of best quarterback. His biggest obstacle will be proving the legitimacy of his breakout season.
Mississippi State will be without leading rusher Josh Robinson, wide receiver Jameon Lewis and tight end Malcolm Johnson. Prescott must provide another productive season without many of his favorite targets. But with leading receiver De’Runnya Wilson returning from a knee injury, as well as rising junior Fred Ross, the quarterback will have plenty of talent on offense to enjoy another impressive campaign.
Prescott will also look to avenge a disappointing end to his junior season. The Bulldogs were upset by in-state rival Ole Miss, 31-17, in Week 14 and blown out by Georgia Tech, 49-34, in the 2014 Capital One Orange Bowl.
Mississippi State was a far cry from the team that seemed bound for the College Football Playoffs at season’s end. Prescott will have motivation to have an even greater year during his senior campagin and should remain the SEC’s star quarterback in 2015.