To bear the legacy of the Dallas Cowboys star comes an immense pressure to perform at an elite level every football game. Yet, even as a backup rookie quarterback, Dak Prescott was poised to take to the field with grit and tenacity. Born Rayne Dakota Prescott in Haughton, Louisiana, Dak was the youngest of three children born to Peggy Prescott. Coming from a humble beginning, Prescott was a standout 1-AAAA quarterback and in his senior year, he had a 62% pass completion rate for 2,860 yards with 39 touchdowns. He would lead the Buccaneers to win the District Championship. In 2011 Prescott began his Mississippi State career as the backup quarterback to Tyler Russell in his first two seasons but would take the reins after Russell suffered a concussion during the 2013 season. He would go on to be the 2013 Liberty Bowl MVP after leading the Bulldogs to victory over the Rice Owls (44-7). Dak’s performance during the 2013 season ranked seventh in passing yards (1,940), tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns (13), and fourth in total yards (2,769) and total touchdowns (23) respectively. He was not only an effective player on the field but an outstanding student off the field, being named to the 2013 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll. During a successful 2013 season, the first of many tragedies would break the hearts of the Prescott family. Dak’s mother Peggy would pass away from colon cancer, yet even in the face of despair, Dak was able to push beyond his pain. During his first season as the full-time starting quarterback for the Bulldogs, Prescott would deliver the first #1 ranking in the school’s history with a 10-2 regular-season record. Prescott had a record-setting year in single-season passing yards (3,449), total yards (4,435), passing touchdowns (27), and total touchdowns (41). He would go on to finish eighth in the 2014 Heisman Trophy voting, receiving two first-place votes. Dak would continue to set the rushing yards record, passing yards record, touchdown, and the longest streak of 288 consecutive pass attempts without an interception record in SEC history. He would accumulate a multitude of accolades, such as Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the Manning Award, the Wuerffel Trophy, and won the Senior Class Award being named to the 2017 NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award. To end his collegiate career, Dak would finish third in SEC history in total yards and fourth in total touchdowns.
In 2016, The Dallas Cowboys would select Prescott in the fourth round (135th overall) in hopes to develop the young quarterback behind the veteran quarterback Tony Romo. During rookie minicamp, he would eventually lay claim the #4 in honor of his mother. After an impressive performance during the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Rams, Prescott proved to be a poised and decisive decision-maker on the field. He would get the distinct honor to take the reins yet again for the starting quarterback Tony Romo, who had suffered a vertebral compression fracture during week three of the preseason. Prescott would go on to lead the Cowboys to win the NFC East title. They would finish his rookie season 13-3, falling short in the divisional playoffs to the Green Bay Packers. Prescott’s rookie season performance awarded him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and he was selected to his first Pro Bowl. He was also ranked NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 (peer-voted) and named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team (the second Cowboy quarterback to receive the honor behind Troy Aikman). As Dak continued to lead the Cowboys through tough waters, Prescott would prove to be an elite quarterback by becoming the first player in NFL history to pass for 450 yards in three consecutive games. Unfortunately, in 2020 during the Week 5 game against the New York Giants, Prescott would suffer a season-ending injury to his right ankle. Dak has shown that through the pain of grief and injury you can make a triumphant return. After losing his brother and suffering a season-ending injury, Prescott returned with a vengeance and a new contract leading the Cowboys to win the NFC East title. Though Dallas had a disappointing finish to the 2021 season, Dak is an example of how overcoming adversity builds character and strengthens to rise above like a shining star.