Who is the Heir Apparent to Dak Prescott?


Dec 31, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott (15) throws a pass against Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the second quarter in the 2014 Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When Dak Prescott leaves Mississippi State University, he will hold every significant MSU record a quarterback can hold. He has been great for the school and the football program. Enjoy his senior year because you never know when another transcendent player will walk out of the tunnel like that again.

But who is the next guy in line? Who will be charged with stepping into the shoes Dak Prescott will leave behind? Who will be the backup quarterback in 2015?

After a few years of scarcly thin QB depth (2012 featured a walk-on 3rd stringer), Dan Mullen has built a group of guys behind Prescott this fall:

  • Damian Williams (Jr.)
  • Elijah Staley (RFr.)
  • Nick Fitzgerald (RFr.)
  • Nick Tiano (TFr.)

Naturally, one would assume that Damian Williams will be Dak’s backup once again. While that may be the case, is he set to take over the starting job in 2016? Right now he’s the only other QB on the roster who’s seen live action: 37 of 70, 434 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT.

Elijah Staley has all the physical tools you need. In fact, his size, strength, arm and running ability make him down right scary. He is a 6′-7″ burner who can hurl it a country mile. Unfortunately, Staley missed spring practice due to an injury he sustained during team workouts with the basketball team in December.

Nick Fitzgerald has been quietly moving up the board ever since coming on for the 2013 bowl practice immediately following his high school graduation. He (sort of) led his team to victory over Dak Prescott’s team in the Maroon vs. White game while Williams and Staley were sidelined with injuries.

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So that makes four quarterbacks on the 2015 roster who Dan Mullen can/will use. Only one of them hasn’t been redshirted (Williams) and he’s the only backup with any playing experience. Will all these guys get playing time – will they get enough to prepare them for 2016? Does it matter?

I don’t have any inside information at all – but it’s just a hunch – I think one of these quarterbacks transfers in the summer and it won’t be Nick Fitzgerald.

When you look at the QB depth and Nick Tiano coming in as a freshman this year, there will be a lot of competition to take over for Dak. Do Williams and Staley believe they have a shot at that starting role? If not, are they content being a backup?

The leader in the clubhouse right now is without a doubt Nick Fitzgerald. I think he will be the primary backup in 2015 through one way or another, and he’ll be the starting QB in 2016.

Something may change if Elijah Staley hangs in there because he’s so talented. But Fitzgerald has a leg up on Staley right now, being on campus for over a semester more and he wasn’t injured this spring. That makes two springs for Fitz, and zero for Elijah.

As far as Damian Williams goes, I don’t see him ever being a starting QB at Mississippi State. He’s a good player but ultimately there’s too much talent at QB – and that’s a great thing to see.

There’s no doubt Dan Mullen has changed the quarterback position in Starkville.