Mississippi State's Dak Prescott picked up only the second national individual award in Bulldog football history Tuesday when Premier Sports Management announced him as the winner of the 2015 Senior CLASS Award for NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
Johnthan Banks winning the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award marked the first time a Bulldog won an individual national award.
A nationwide vote of Division I FBS football coaches, national football media and fans declared Prescott the winner. The award focuses on a players performance in four areas: classroom, community, character, and competition. CLASS stands as an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. As such, the award looks at the total student-athlete, and it encourages student-athletes to use their position to make a positive impact in their communities.
"I tried—to the best of my ability—to represent our football team in a first-class manner in everything I did, and I am thankful for receiving the Senior CLASS Award because it embodies more than just on-field performance," said Prescott. "I have always taken pride in being active in our community my entire career. There is a special relationship with Starkville and our football team, and I feel my teammates and I have played an important role in shaping that. I accept this honor on behalf of my teammates and our coaches, especially head coach Dan Mullen. He gave me a chance to come to Mississippi State. That opportunity gave me a chance to earn two academic degrees, develop as a player both on and off the field, create an expectation of winning for our program and live out the greatest years of my life."
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, who coached a previous winner of the award, felt Prescott was deserving of winning.
"Class is something that has epitomized Dak Prescott's entire career," said Mullen, who coached the last SEC player to earn the honor in Tim Tebow (2007). "He has been a tremendous ambassador for our university and football team, and I am proud of him capturing the Senior CLASS Award®. Whether it was his work in the community or his leadership on the field, Dak has raised the standard of excellence at Mississippi State. He will leave Starkville with an undergraduate degree, a master's degree and a lifetime of memories."
Prescott has received an undergraduate degree in educational psychology, and in December, he received a master's degree in workforce leadership. He has also been a regular fixture on All-SEC lists and in the community during his time in Starkville.
"Dak represents everything that is good about college athletics, and is incredibly deserving of this honor," MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said. "Words can't adequately describe what he means to Mississippi State and our athletic department."
Prescott is the 12th SEC player to win the award.