By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – The comparisons are inevitable, and to Dylan Favre, unwelcome.
Yes, he’s the nephew of future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. Yes, both are quarterbacks from south Mississippi. Yes, both were overlooked by major college programs coming out of high school.
The younger Favre has a stock answer when asked about his uncle, though: “I don’t want to be rude, but if you want to ask questions about my uncle, you need to ask him.”
That’s what he told a reporter a few months ago. Dylan Favre, now a true freshman going through summer drills at Mississippi State, has preferred to let others discuss that topic while trying to make his own mark while in the smothering shadow of his uncle.
Despite his eye-popping, record-breaking numbers at St. Stanislaus, the only BCS school to offer Favre a scholarship was MSU. Southern Miss, Tulane and Northwestern (La.) State also made offers.
First, the stats: 5,589 yards, 63 touchdowns passing; 1,265 yards, 18 TDs rushing. And that was just in 2009, when he led the Rockachaws to the Class 4A state championship and earned Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year honors.
He holds the state record for career total offense (14,175 yards) and touchdown passes (144). How could coaches not be drooling over him?
Because at 5-foot-11, Favre was easy to overlook.
“If he’d have been 6-3, everybody would’ve wanted a piece of him and sending out offers,” said his high school coach, Forrest Williams.
MSU just saw the departure of an under-6-foot QB, Tyson Lee, who struggled mightily in two years as a platoon starter (2,963 yards, 19 interceptions, 11 touchdowns).
Now, here is Favre, who’s joined on the roster by 6-5 Tyler Russell, named the state’s top player at Meridian in 2008, and 6-4 Chris Relf, the veteran of the quarterback group.
Don’t expect Favre to willingly don the redshirt.
“I’d like to play with him here, and I think he’s good enough to play,” said senior center J.C. Brignone, who’s also a St. Stanislaus product. “I tell him he’s in the same world I’m in. I’m a 6-1 center in a 6-3, 6-4 to 6-8 world.
“I said, ‘All you are is a 5-11 quarterback in a 6-3 world. So you’re in the same place I am.’ So nobody can tell him he can’t do it, because nobody could tell me I couldn’t do it.”
Favre would likely echo those remarks, but freshmen at MSU are not allowed to speak with the media until after their first on-field action.
In a Sports Illustrated article in December, Favre said, “I just want a shot to prove myself. I think that’s all I need.”
He won’t get that shot because of his surname, and he doesn’t want to. Favre doesn’t flaunt his fame-by-association, and he doesn’t see the logic in tying his accomplishments to his name.
“It’s always good, I guess, to have an NFL MVP as your uncle,” Williams said, “but Dylan Favre would’ve been a good football player if Brett hadn’t been around.”
Ah, but the similarities are striking nonetheless. Both Favres can improvise, and both work relentlessly on their game.
Dylan, who enrolled at MSU in June, recently overheard Brignone inviting some players to his house to review the playbook. So Favre invited himself.
He’s early for meetings, watches film at 5 a.m. Whatever Favre might lack in stature, he’s making up for with initiative.
“He’s showing that he has heart, and he works his butt off,” Russell said.
While Relf and Russell are locked in a battle for the starting job – they’ll likely end up splitting duties – Favre will be close behind them, pushing hard for respect that he can call his own.
Favre ostensibly won’t have to run as much as he did in high school, and he’s got a very strong arm.
In fact, Williams believes Favre is the best “pure passer” on the team. He’ll have a chance to hone his skills, now that he doesn’t also have to play on defense and punt, both of which he did pretty well at St. Stanislaus.
He’s got a head for the game, too. Williams had some of his players on the MSU campus last weekend for a 7-on-7 camp, and Favre stood next to him talking football and making suggestions.
“I told him I would hire him as an offensive coordinator one day if he wanted to come back and coach a little bit,” Williams said.
Chances are, Favre will be holding a clipboard for at least this year. Russell’s just a redshirt freshman, while Relf’s a junior.
“I know he’s going to be fighting,” Williams said. “He talked to me about competing with those other guys athletically, and I know he can hold his own.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.