Sometimes talent and greatness are hidden just out of sight. Some NFL players are dominant right out of the Pop Warner league. That early momentum carries them all the way through college and into the NFL. But sometimes you find gold if you’re willing to plumb the depths of the roster and see who’s sitting at No. 2 — such is the story of Dak Prescott.
Dak Prescott’s journey to the NFL
When Prescott made his NFL debut back in 2016, the Shreveport Times called it the “It Factor.” The “It Factor” in question is the intangible quality that some players have, the ability to bring a specific kind of energy to the field, changing the game in the process. All the greats have had that same quality, and so does Prescott.
The young superstar got his start playing quarterback at Haughton high school, although he was stuck at back up during his sophomore year. When the starting quarterback broke his finger, Prescott got bumped up to the starting position, and Haughton went on to win their final seven games of the season.
That’s how Prescott operates: waiting patiently in the shadow of a senior quarterback until the timing is just right. After that, the self-deprecating player dazzled fans and opponents alike, inspiring teammates in the process.
After an incredible high school career, Prescott enrolled in Mississippi State. Despite his high school performance, he wasn’t a widely-recruited player. LSU offered him a position at tight end based on his size, but being a quarterback was in his blood, so he ultimately chose Mississippi
Unlike many highly-recruited players, Prescott didn’t rush headlong through his college days toward the NFL draft. He stayed and played his full four years of eligibility, shattering records as he went, and earning his degree at the end of the road. When he did declare for the draft, he wasn’t picked until the fourth round.
A series of tragedies
Part of Prescott’s secret is that he isn’t just playing for selfish reasons like money or personal glory. Those things may factor in, but they certainly aren’t at the forefront. Prescott is driven by the love of his family.
When he was drafted, Prescott chose No. 4 for his jersey. One of his biggest long-time supporters was his mother, Peggy. In the midst of Prescott’s college career, his mother passed away due to colon cancer. It came as a heavy blow. She had always stood by his side, encouraging him toward his goals. Her birthday was September fourth, so Prescott honors her every time he steps onto the field.
Her death has served as a continual motivation for the up-and-coming young quarterback. But it wasn’t the only setback he’s faced. On April 24th of this year, Prescott’s older brother, Jace passed away from unknown causes. That is a tremendous burden for Prescott, who’s currently embroiled in a tense contract negotiation, to shoulder.
Dak Prescott’s charity work
The passing of two loved ones in such a short time span is more than most people could bear. But Prescott has maintained his focus throughout, letting the memory of his mother and brother inspire and motivate him. Prescott has turned tragedy into triumph through his Faith, Fight, Finish charity foundation. Faith, Fight, Finish helps give families facing cancer the tools and resources necessary to win the battle.
That’s not the only way that Prescott gives back to the community, honoring his family in the meantime. In June, Prescott pledged one million dollars to help fight systematic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Prescott is not one to lose focus or shy away from the privileges that he’s earned. And that is the core of his “It Factor.”