Nick Fitzgerald Seizing #2 Opportunity

By admission he was “a big fish in a little pond.” Now Nick Fitzgerald dives into the biggest college ocean of all, to swim among SEC sharks.

As Mississippi State prepares for 2015, Fitzgerald stands an increasingly-strong second on the quarterback depth chart. True, that’s #2 to the league’s biggest fish. But even All-SEC Dak Prescott needs a backup.

Redshirt freshman Fitzgerald is holding second-status, edging ahead of a two-year veteran. Fitzgerald got to #2 in spring camp when Damian Williams was sidelined with a pectoral tear. Three weeks into August, he’s still there.

“He’s done a nice job,” quarterbacks Coach Brian Johnson said. “He’s gotten a ton of reps over the two years. He still has a ways to go but I really like his improvement and willingness to become a better player.”

Fitzgerald has already come a ways in college. “I came from a really easy high school offense where I didn’t have many reads or checks. I also didn’t throw the ball that much.”

Constant practice, supervised or not, has produced stronger, smarter arm-angles on all Fitzgerald’s throws. It hasn’t hurt high school footwork from the veer-type offense, either, and at 6-5, 230 he can be a load hauling the ball. The real challenge was learning a sophisticated passing scheme.

“Maybe it sounded like Chinese at first. But that is long over with now.”

Fitzgerald savvies the play-lingo in no small part from shadowing Prescott. “I hang out with him as much as I can off the field. I try to learn as much as I can from him, and get into the playbook as much as possible too. Because I will be battling it out next year.”

When it’s time to compete for the starting job, he means. For now, Fitzgerald is fine at #2.

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