Dak Prescott had arguably the best rookie season by a quarterback in NFL history.
The Dallas Cowboys sensation set a rookie-record for passer rating with 104.9, posting a 100-or-better rating in 11 games. He had a 103.2 passer rating in the Cowboys’ playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Prescott finished the year by completing 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,667 yards with 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions, numbers that put him in the most valuable player conversation. He also rushed for 282 yards and six touchdowns, the most rushing scores by a quarterback in Cowboys history.
Can Prescott get much better?
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His college coach, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, certainly thinks so.
“He’ll grow a lot,” Mullen said during the Senior Bowl this week. “Just knowing his personality, his demeanor, his work ethic – he’s going to put a lot in this off-season to really try to take some steps forward and become a better player.”
Mullen pointed to the Pro Bowl this week as a place where Prescott will look to soak in more knowledge from proven veterans.
“I think he’ll get a lot out of that experience of learning from guys and trying to pick brains of some veteran players,” Mullen said.
Mullen would know. He saw Prescott grow in each of his three seasons quarterbacking the Bulldogs.
Prescott saw his completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns increase each season from 2013 to 2014 to 2015.
That carried over to the NFL with Prescott’s seamless transition into the Cowboys’ offense.
And Mullen gave an emphatic “NO!” when asked if he was surprised to see Prescott’s sudden success at the next level.
“To be honest with you, I’m surprised that he played, if anything, cause you weren’t expecting him to be out there on the field,” Mullen said. “But just knowing him, the type of worker he is, the type of person he is, how he continues to work and develop … He had a great roster and guys around him. I think it was a great situation and he fit into it perfectly.”
Mullen and Prescott texted occasionally throughout the season, although Mullen joked that his wife, Megan, might have been in contact more often.
“Just words of encouragement,” Mullen said. “Whether it was a word of encouragement or a word to try to settle him down some, a little bit of both.”
For Mullen, the success of Prescott should help his recruiting efforts at Mississippi State.
What kid wouldn’t want to go to the same school as Prescott right now?
“I think it certainly helps with quarterbacks,” Mullen said. “Guys look at how we developed quarterbacks, or me through the years with him and [former Utah quarterback and current Kansas City Chiefs QB] Alex Smith.
“I was hoping for a Cowboys-Chiefs Super Bowl to be honest with you, both of my quarterbacks playing, but I think it helps. Guys look at how we develop players in the past. If they come to Mississippi State, they’re going to get coached well and have an opportunity to advance in their career.”