Steve Roberton -

Mississippi State redshirt sophomore QB Elijah Staley in a four-man race for QB starting role

Mississippi State redshirt sophomore quarterback Elijah Staley is one of four quarterbacks competing for the starting quarterback position.

The four players competing for the starting job are Staley, junior Damian Williams, redshirt sophomore Nick Fitzgerald and true freshman Nick Tiano.

"All four of us are all good friends," said Staley. "We are all cool with each other. We all like to hang out with each other. We text each other every day. We have group messages. We have fun together. We have built good relationships over the years. Of course there is competition and we all want to beat each other out for the starting position. But that doesn't affect our friendship with each other. We are all just trying to be the best player that we can be. We are all competing, all focusing on starting. Whoever comes out on top comes out on top."

All four players worked hard during the summer months trying to improve their position in the quarterback race.

"During the summer I worked hard. I was throwing or doing something every single day to get better," said Staley. "And we all worked together and we sometimes worked alone. Every day we were out throwing as a group. Then sometimes people would come out alone."

Staley mentioned his strong points.

"I like making plays," he said. "I like to do the spectacular sometimes. I'm working on doing the basics now. But I love playing and having fun."

After spending time as a backup to departed starting quarterback Dak Prescott last season, Staley learned the things that he needed to improve on the most.

"I definitely needed to learn more about the game and be more consistent," said Staley. "And being more consistent is done by taking more reps. That has come with my work ethic, which has definitely grown since I first got here. Before this competition began my work ethic wasn't all the way there. Now I have been working very hard, learning our offense. My maturity has gotten a lot better, too. I have grown in a lot of different ways."

Former QB Prescott gets a lot of credit for helping Staley become more mature.

"Dak taught me a lot," said Staley. "He taught me how to grow up and how to be more mature. He also taught me how to approach practice, how to approach the game, how to handle treatment. He and I still text to this day. He asked me what I was doing and that I need to do what I am supposed to be doing. He wishes me good luck."

Staley expects whomever winds up winning the quarterback job will inherit a very potent offense.

"I feel like this offense can be extremely explosive," said Staley. "I feel it can be even better than it was last year as long as we do what we are supposed to do."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network.

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