All off- season long the hype has been building around Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. After his comeback performance against rival Mississippi and his bowl game efforts, along with many memorable moments in 2013 as a “part time quarterback”, many around the country have taken notice of the 6-3 235lb quarterback and his skill set. Some have even tagged him a possible Heisman Trophy contender.
Prescott continued to build momentum off the field at SEC Media Days this week as more and more people are buying in to “Dak”.
Do I personally think Dak Prescott will win the Heisman Trophy? Probably not but, do I think he can have one heck of a season and help Mississippi State climb the ladder in the SEC West? Absolutely.
But – when a player’s name is out there like Prescott’s it’s good for the kid, the school, the brand and more.
We see this every year, where fan bases grab hold of a player or two and they become superstars. Prescott just happens to be one of those guys in 2014 and to his credit he has earned it.
But, with big time praise comes big time criticism and typically the first place you get it is from your rival.
Ole Miss fans have moaned and belly ached since January calling Prescott a fraud, no good and screaming to anyone that will listen that he is NOT worthy of praise.
All of this will work itself out here in just a few months but, the last group that should ever criticize hype or Heisman campaign is Ole Miss.
If you looked up hype in the dictionary it would probably be painted in red and blue. Since 1971 Ole Miss has been for the most part an average, to below average SEC football program and since the East-West merger Ole Miss is the only school in the West to not play for an SEC Championship, (Yes Texas A&M hasn’t either but, this is their third year in the league).
Yet behind all that, every year is THE year for Ole Miss and if you don’t believe them, just ask them.
Last year was going to be “the rising of the Rebels” as Seph Anderson and others proclaimed 2013 was the year of the Rebel.
Of course we all know how last year panned out. But we’ve seen this countless times before.
In the late nineties, Ole Miss launched a campaign for running back Deuce McCallister for the Heisman Trophy and while McCallister ended up a New Orleans Saints great, he only produced one season of over 1,000 yards rushing while at Mississippi.
In 2009 Ole Miss officially launched the Jevan Sneed for Heisman campaign and even launched a University run web site that can be seen here.
Stickers were bought, hype was made and even Sports Illustrated jumped on the band wagon.
Sneed finished the 2009 season with 20 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
And how can we ever forget about Brent Schaeffer. Schaeffer joined the Mississippi football team after spending time at Tennessee and when Schaeffer enrolled in Oxford, you would have thought the second coming had arrived.
Schaeffer finished his two year Rebel carrier with a modest 2,000-passing yards and 14 touchdowns while throwing 14 interceptions.
Finally there was Jeremiah Masoli, the transfer from Oregon that was going to rectify the program while winning the Heisman Trophy.
Masoli finished his Rebel carrier by throwing for 2,039-yards and 14-touchdowns and 13-interceptions.
If there was ever a school or fan base that should never criticize another about hype – it’s Ole Miss.
Back to Prescott, his hype and attention has been all fan and media driven. Most all of Ole Miss hype is backed by the university.
Mississippi State has yet to officially release a website, sticker or statement backing a Prescott for Heisman campaign.
Yet still, the Prescott love is driving Ole Miss fans and media crazy.
So much so that even the Ole Miss Clarion Ledger beat writer Hugh Kellenburger got involved yesterday with a piece discrediting Prescott. That can be read here. You know you’ve really gotten under a fan bases skin when a supposedly unbiased news paper writes a piece, trying to discredit a rival school.
So the argument will continue for a few more weeks then the season will begin and we will see – is Prescott worth the praise or not?
One thing is for sure in all of this, all of the Prescott love is driving Ole Miss fans crazy and I can promise you they are praying Prescott fails.
After-all, how ironic would it be for the school that lives on hype, might have to watch their rival actually have someone that lives up to it. This is the perfect case of pot meet kettle.