published Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

MSU quarterback Dak Prescott eager to build on 2013 finish

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Hoover, Ala.
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Hoover, Ala.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

HOOVER, Ala. — Mississippi State junior quarterback Dak Prescott accounted for 2,769 total yards last season, ranking among the top five in the Southeastern Conference.

Prescott rushed for 829 yards and 6.2 yards per carry for a Bulldogs team that won their last three games to finish 7-6, but his efficiency rating placed just 13th in the league. Coach Dan Mullen said Tuesday at SEC media days that his 6-foot-2, 235-pounder from Houghton, La., is more comfortable in the pocket and has improved his deep throws.

"He went into last year as the backup and became the starter due to injuries," Mullen said. "Then he got hurt and had to miss part of the season, but he still put up some pretty big numbers. Dak is a tremendous worker, and I think he's a much better passer this year than he was last year."

Prescott actually owns the highest career completion percentage (.588) in Mississippi State history, and his rushing total last year set a new school standard for quarterbacks. He has improved his footwork and balance on every throw and is eager to see what he can do for an encore, whether that's continuing to plow through defenders or taking more chances at beating them deep.

"I feel like I've gotten a lot better on my deeper passes that I guess people underestimated and underrated me on," Prescott said. "I'm proving what I can do to my team and people within the facility. I'm getting their trust.

"People are going to think what they want to think no matter what I do, so that's beyond my measures. We have expectations within our facility that I believe are a lot higher than anybody else's. We want to get better and be the team that we can be."

Aggies seek depth

Texas A&M had a 6-2 league record during its SEC debut season in 2012, but the Aggies slipped to 4-4 last year despite the return of quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Coach Kevin Sumlin said depth has been what's kept the Aggies from winning a crown.

"Look at where we are, particularly in the West," Sumlin said. "We had a great Thursday night [at the NFL draft] in New York, because we had three guys drafted in the first round. That's the good news. The bad news was those were the only three guys we had drafted.

"LSU had nine guys drafted and Alabama had eight, and that speaks to depth across the board."

A similar path

South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson can relate to Georgia counterpart Hutson Mason, as each has patiently waited before having his team to himself as a senior.

"We've talked over the past few years, and this past weekend we were at the Manning Camp together," Thompson said. "He's a great guy, and I really like Hutson's attitude and approach. We don't really talk about football that much, but obviously he waited behind Aaron Murray, and for me it was Connor Shaw.

"We learned so much from them, and in week three we will face off against each other. I really respect him a lot."

Spurrier snippets

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier on Alabama coach Nick Saban: "They've had five No. 1 recruiting classes in the last six years, which has got to make him the greatest recruiter in the history of college football." ... On playing at Auburn this season: "I'm 0-5 against Auburn since I've been at South Carolina. They have outplayed us and outcoached us and everything." ... On South Carolina and Texas A&M now playing annually for the Alamo Trophy: "I'm from Tennessee and was always taught that the hero of the Alamo was Davy Crockett, so this was a new one on me."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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