JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott was so good this season there was little doubt he’d be the winner of the Conerly Trophy, which is given to the state’s top college football player.
Sure enough, his name was called on Tuesday night.
It’s one of many awards the junior might win before his time in college is done.
But Prescott admitted the Conerly Trophy, which is sponsored by C Spire Wireless, holds some special meaning for him. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior is from Haughton, Louisiana, but says he’s continually amazed at how fans have embraced him in the Magnolia State.
“I feel like I’m a Mississippian now, I guess, being here for four years,” Prescott said. “Just the hospitality, the great people and me buying into Mississippi State University.”
Prescott is the 19th winner of the Conerly Trophy. It’s a list that includes current NFL players including Eli Manning, Patrick Willis, Austin Davis, Anthony Dixon and Gabe Jackson.
“Those are some great names,” Prescott said.
Prescott is also a finalist for national awards such as the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien. The Maxwell is given to the nation’s top college player while the O’Brien goes to the top quarterback.
He’s thrown for 2,996 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season while also rushing for 939 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also led Mississippi State to 10 wins in the regular season (6-2 in the SEC) for the first time in school history.
The Bulldogs also spent five weeks as the No. 1 team in the nation, which was also a first for the program.
“It’s just hard work and dedication — putting my mind to something,” Prescott said. “Giving it my all and never giving half effort.”
Prescott won the award over three other finalists, including Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson (a Pascagoula native), Delta State quarterback Tyler Sullivan and Alcorn State quarterback John Gibbs Jr.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said Prescott was deserving of the award.
“Obviously, he’s had a terrific season and he’s a great athlete,” Freeze said. “But even more than that, he makes everyone around him better. You can tell his guys want to play with him.”
The Conerly Trophy is voted on by a panel of sports media members across the state. Fan voting also accounts for 10 percent of the award.