According to ESPN analyst and former Florida quarterback Jesse Palmer, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen has never coached a better running quarterback than the guy he’s got now:
“He’s the best running quarterback that Dan Mullen’s ever coached. Yeah, that includes Alex Smith, who was the #1 pick overall. That includes Tim Tebow…
The escapability, you don’t have to block everybody in order for him to give you the explosive play. He makes this offense better in the red zone a lot like Tim Tebow and Alex Smith.”
When healthy, Prescott did make the Bulldogs’ offense tougher to prepare for thanks to his legs. That much can’t be debated. It also can’t be debated that both Tebow and Smith had more talent around them (or in Smith’s case played a lesser schedule) during their collegiate careers. Still, the “big play” talk got us to wondering…
Below are the rushing numbers for each QB mentioned by Palmer. Let’s see how Prescott stacks up. We’ll look only at seasons in which the quarterbacks in question topped the 100-carry mark:
|Prescott, MSU 2013||111||722||6.5||10|
|Smith, Utah 2004||135||631||4.6||10|
|Tebow, Florida 2007||210||895||4.3||23|
|Tebow, Florida 2009||217||910||4.2||14|
|Tebow, Florida 2008||176||673||3.8||12|
|Smith, Utah 2003||149||452||3.0||5|
Tebow was a battering ram. Prescott is a scrambler. Smith was somewhere between the two. All three QBs played in the same system, but all three were used a bit differently. Still, a look at the numbers does suggest Prescott is more capable of big plays and escapes than the other two greats coached by Mullen.
Perhaps that’s one reason he finished among the SEC’s 10 best rushers this past season.