If anyone is asked if they have a favorite Dan Mullen quarterback, there are plenty of options. Because his track record of developing quarterbacks is long and illustrious.
Feleipe Franks, who might be Mullen’s next quarterback, has a favorite.
Dak Prescott, who has been starting for the Dallas Cowboys since his rookie season two years ago.
“I wouldn’t say reminds me of myself. I try to play my own game,” Franks said after Saturday’s spring game. “At the same time, one of the guys I really like watching on film, especially with Coach Mullen there and Coach (Brian) Johnson, is Dak Prescott.
“Just how calm he is just in the pocket watching his film from when he was at Mississippi State. Just so poised. At the same time, like I’ve heard from them, great personality.
“I have a great personality, I’m always upbeat, but just the way he plays on the field with such great poise and just gets the job done. His last two seasons straight, you know, a great player, a great teammate. I really like the way he plays.”
Franks might be hearing from his favorite Mullen quarterback in the near future.
In an attempt to give his young quarterbacks an idea what kind of work they have to put in this summer to be great, Mullen said he may have some of his former quarterbacks, including Prescott, call Franks and Kyle Trask.
“We’re limited in how we can be around them (in the summer),” Mullen said. “I can’t be out there while they’re throwing. We’ll talk to them about it: ‘This is what you need to do to be great.’
“I’ll have other people talk to them about it. Get former players talking to them about it. Get guys who are currently playing. Get a Dak Prescott to get on the phone with them and say, ‘Hey, this is what you’ve got to do in the summer if you want to be great.’
“Get some of the other quarterbacks, great quarterbacks here, ‘This is what you’ve got to do if you want to be great.’ And just keep hammering so they understand the sense of urgency and how hard they have to work to be successful.”
It’s still early, but heading into the summer, Franks appears to be the slight leader for the starting role in the fall.
If it turns out that Franks wins the job, many among the fan base might be disappointed. But it would be viewed completely different by his teammates, who seem to embrace him because of his leadership traits and his athletic ability.
Franks received a piggyback ride off the field from safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson after his 60-yard TD run Saturday.
“That’s my quarterback,” Gardner-Johnson said. “He came in with me. He came in early. A lot of people are always throwing negative thoughts and shade at him, but I told him, ‘We’ve got to keep playing because the guys in the pros did the same thing. Somebody else is competing for the same job you’re competing for. You’ve just got to go out and do what you’ve got to do.’
“He’s always been a leader. He’s part of the leadership committee, so obviously our guys see something in him that other people don’t. But they’re not putting on a helmet with us. They’re not playing with us.
“That’s my quarterback. I came in early with him, moved into Keyes with him. That’s my boy. Everybody else outside is negative talking about him, but he’s my quarterback.”
Linebacker David Reese said Franks’ 60-yard run Saturday is an indication of the kind of playmaker he can be.
“Feleipe is probably one of the most athletic players on our whole team,” Reese said. “A guy that big, that strong, that fast, and with an arm like that, he can make a lot of plays happen.”