Looking for the Next Dak

When it comes to cultivating quarterbacks, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen has one of the best track records in all of college football. With multiple first round picks, a Heisman trophy winner and a pair of national championships, it is hard to argue against the "Mullen system". Mullen's current signal caller, Dak Prescott, is considered the front runner for the Heisman.

Much has been made the past few weeks about Mississippi State's player evaluations and the coaching staff's ability to coach players up.

Now that the Bulldogs are ranked #1 and projected as one of the four teams to take part in the first ever FBS college football playoff, some have wondered if Mullen and his staff may elect to alter their strategy and cast the Bulldog nets in some different waters to catch potential prospects.

Despite State's historic season, the six year coach reports that he has no plans to change the way the program does things.

As the old adage goes, "If ain't broke, don't fix it."

"We're not going to change our philosophy in recruiting," explained Mullen in a one-on-one interview. "This is a great place.

"With the exposure we're getting, a lot more players are seeing what Mississippi State is all about."

Mullen recounts that at times during his tenure, the Bulldogs have had to battle perceptions about facilities, the campus and the city of Starkville.

"One of the challenges we have had is getting kids here," said Mullen. "When they've come to visit us and seen the facilities, seen the family atmosphere and seen the great college time, then we're in the mix.

"I think now with all of the attention that we're getting, there are some players around the southeast and farther that are looking at us and saying I'm going to go take a look at Mississippi State.

"When they do that they see what a great place Mississippi State is and it puts us on their list."

The Mississippi State story in many ways is personified by #15 Dak Prescott.

The gritty, blue collar signal caller went largely unnoticed by most major college programs until after his senior season.

Tucked away in a small rural community near Shreveport, Louisiana, Prescott worked his way onto the Mississippi State recruiting radar.

After a trip to see Prescott in action during the spring of his junior year, area recruiter John Hevesy began pushing the then two star signal caller as the Bulldogs' quarterback for the 2011 signing class.

A strong camp showing saw Prescott shoot up the Bulldogs' board earning an in person off from Dan Mullen following the 2010 Big Dawg camp.

Over three years later, Prescott is simply known as "Dak" to those who follow Bulldog football. His official nomenclature is now known nationally.

After gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated and being interviewed by just about all of the top opinion makers in all of sport, Prescott has arrived.

The Haughton, Louisiana product reports that he chose Mississippi State in large part because of Mullen's legacy of college quarterbacks.

Prescott will now be mentioned as part of that impressive legacy that has achieved some great things on the college level, but Mullen is already looking for the next great one.

"I have had Alex Smith, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow and all of those guys before," said Mullen. "I think Dak is another one of them.

"We are still going to evaluate a guy the same way we always have.

"I think guys can see how our offense does and see that how we develop quarterbacks is pretty successful."

The Mississippi State offense has been firing on all cylinders with Prescott at the helm, racking up over 500 yards of offense in five of the Bulldogs' six wins.

The thought of other quarterbacks patterning their college football futures after him appears to be a humbling realization to the redshirt junior.

"I actually haven't even thought about that before," said Prescott. "That would be pretty sweet to be the reason that someone pursues their dream just like I did.

"Seeing somebody else go out and try to accomplish the things that I have tried to do here would be huge."

With talk of college football glory at the highest level surrounding him at every waking moment, Prescott remains fairly level headed.

With a 6-0 start and wins over three straight top ten teams, some players would be tempted to relax and revel in what they have already accomplished.

Prescott reports that both he and his team remain hungry for more on the field success.

"There's always a way to get better and there is always room for improvement," said Prescott. "I like to stay level and be exactly who I am when I make a good play or make a bad play.

"There's always more to give.

"Of course, thinking about my mom is inspirational to me, but I hate to see anyone down.

"If I see other guys out there not being the best that they can be, I want to do my part to bring them up. If we can all work together to be as good as we can be, then we can all be great as a team and as individuals."


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