News broke late Saturday night that Mississippi State quarterback/NFL hopeful Dak Prescott was arrested and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Luckily for Prescott, there was no accident and nobody was hurt. Now comes the aftermath of the DUI — and it will be bad.
This is the second consecutive spring break Prescott has had negative press; last year, he was in a fight in Panama City, Fla. That was a case of Prescott being in the wrong place at the wrong time; this time, this is something Prescott must own.
For all the good Prescott has done – on the field and off, for kids, charity, the City of Starkville, Mississippi State and the SEC – he now will be pegged as showing a pattern of random bad behavior.
Like it or not, right or wrong, that is what many will point to now with Prescott – that there is an established pattern – and people will feast on that. The talk of "pattern" started instantly on social media after news broke of the incident.
Prescott worked tirelessly during his college career to shed the stigma of being a run-first quarterback, working hard to improve his passing ability, raise his completion percentage and show he had what it takes to be an NFL quarterback.
Prescott carried that momentum through the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine, then had a solid day at Mississippi State's pro day last week. But one thing we have learned is that the NFL is serious about cleaning up its image and the league has tightened policies on player misconduct. Off-field incidents do affect draft status; we saw that last year with Missouri's Shane Ray, Florida State's P.J. Williams and LSU's Jalen Collins and La'el Collins. Just how much this will affect Prescott is yet to be determined, but Prescott needs to address this quickly.
When describing athletes and people, we always hear the terms "smart," "savvy," "athletic," "big," "strong" and "fast," but the most underrated trait of anybody, regardless of position or career, is "disciplined."
That's because discipline doesn't sell and people don't want to hear about it. But it will be mentioned when you stray. It is without a doubt the most undervalued quality a person can have, and when that fails, people fail. If you don't believe it, just look at Johnny Manziel's current situation.
For Prescott, the most important thing he can work on moving forward isn't his throwing motion, how he handles third-and-7 or even how he performs in red zone situations. For Prescott, it has become about discipline. He needs to understand it's not necessarily the action; in Prescott's case, it's how he acts following the action.
At the Senior Bowl, much was made that Dan Mullen coached both Prescott and Tim Tebow. Prescott made it a point to distance himself from Tebow. "I think that connection really comes from the offense, the coach, maybe even the number and the leadership ability," Prescott said. "Tim Tebow is a great leader; to be compared to him that way, I'll take that."
After this weekend's events, maybe Prescott ought to consider revisiting some of those comparisons and take a few notes from Tebow. Discipline is the most important quality Prescott can have moving forward; without it, you can ruin careers, relationships and even lives.
(You can follow Jake Wimberly on Twitter @jakewim)
(Feature photo by BRIAN SPURLOCK/USA TODAY SPORTS)
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