If Russell does not dress, true freshman Damian Williams will serve as Prescott’s backup.
If that happens, it will be the 14th time in the last 15 games Mississippi State will only have two scholarship quarterbacks available for action.
How is that possible? Rewind to December 2011 and take a look at how the Bulldogs arrived to this predicament.
After the Egg Bowl that year, it was announced that redshirt freshman quarterback Dylan Favre was transferring to Pearl River Community College and would not participate in MSU’s Gator Bowl preparations. While there was no official statement on why Brett Favre’s nephew decided to leave the program, look no further than his arrest for drug charges five months later as the likely cause.
Favre’s transfer two months before signing day sent MSU scrambling to find a quarterback in the 2012 class. The Bulldogs did not originally plan to ink a quarterback that year but settled with two-star Nick Schuessler, who chose State over offers from Colorado State and Middle Tennessee.
Schuessler did arrive on campus that June but quit the program within the first month and transferred to Clemson as a walk-on.
Despite the absence of a third-string scholarship quarterback, Mississippi State was able to make it through the 2012 season with only Russell and Prescott on the roster.
Russell went through the spring alone as Prescott was recovering from toe surgery, but there was help and hope on the way in the form of two quarterbacks – Williams and Cord Sandberg – that the Bulldogs had signed in February.
Sandberg was especially celebrated, having been rated a consensus four-star prospect and considered one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound southpaw fit right into the same mold as Tim Tebow, who played so brilliantly in Dan Mullen’s offense at Florida.
However, a third-round selection and $775,000 from the Philadelphia Phillies in June changed Sandberg’s plans of playing SEC football, leaving the Bulldogs once again in a bind.
Williams dressed and made the trip to Houston for week one, and it will be interesting to watch if his redshirt is removed this weekend against Alcorn State. If Russell’s concussion lingers past this weekend, it could be inevitable that the true freshman sees the field.
Logan Lowery (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal.