Break out the #DakForHeisman hashtags, because Dak Prescott is going to steam roll his way to New York!
That’s the hope and belief of a lot of Mississippi State fans. Croom Diaries has already discussed this some here. Jesse Palmer already got the ball rolling by stating in one game’s broadcast that he believed Dak Prescott could have a Heisman type year. Dak has tons of positive momentum heading into the offseason after his stellar performance in the Liberty Bowl. The bad news is we all thought Chris Relf was going to have a breakout season in 2011 after his magnificent performance in the Gator Bowl, and that never really came together. What exactly is fueling all this excitement about a quarterback who hasn’t even started a full season of games?
Dak gets compared a lot to Tim Tebow because they both played for Dan Mullen, and they are both big, physical quarterbacks. I think it is a decent comparison, but I think the much more accurate comparison would be Cam Newton. Dak seems to be more athletic than Tebow, and I think their skills are much more similar. Regardless, both Tebow and Newton won Heisman trophies, and they were both perfectly suited for the type of offense that Mullen likes to run.
That’s where all of this Heisman talk starts. Prescott fits perfectly into the mold needed for Mullen’s offense. He can hurt you with both his arm and his legs. His mobility allows him to extend plays, and find things when they might not have been there for a quarterback that was less mobile. His size allows him to take hits and hold the ball and still find the open receiver on some of the longer developing routes. He needs to work more on his accuracy during the offseason, but this offense was designed for someone with Prescott’s skill set to thrive.
One of the most important parts for any player to have a great year is to have a favorable schedule. Mississippi State has had a brutal schedule, especially the back half, the last two years. It lightens up a good bit next year. The road game to South Carolina is being replaced with a home game against Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt has done a lot of good things under James Franklin the last few years, but there is a big difference between what Vandy can do and what South Carolina can do. The most difficult non conference game this year was Oklahoma State, this year it is going to be either Southern Miss or UAB. That’s a monumental difference. Add in the attrition that Bama, LSU, and hopefully Texas A&M will have at the quarterback position, then State’s chances of a big year have gone up significantly.
This is where Prescott will be lacking. When the 2014 season starts, I don’t think Prescott is going to be on any preseason watch lists for the Heisman. You don’t have to have preseason hype, but it helps. The last two winners didn’t have any hype and they were able to overcome that. They also played for bigger schools that had more clout in the NCAA world. Dak’s best chances for grabbing national attention is to follow the lead of Robert Griffin, III. Griffin played for a school that never had any substantial success in football, but the offense fit his skills perfectly, and RG3 went on to have one of the most eye popping seasons we have ever seen. Dak could do the same thing, but it will be a little more difficult. The offense fits Dak perfectly, but it will be difficult to put up those types of stats because the offense isn’t really designed for that. Baylor’s offense is designed to run as many plays as humanly possible, and our offense is more of a ball control style of offense.
I’d have to say this is based in mostly fact. Prescott has a lot of things in his favor, so if Mississippi State has a big year, Prescott will be a big reason why. The fourth game of the year and first SEC contest is in Baton Rouge against LSU. If State wins and Prescott has a big game as well, the hype will probably start to build around Prescott.