Long before Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald, there was a quarterback in Starkville electrifying crowds with his athletic ability. John Bond has been called the original Johnny Manziel, the only starting quarterback to post a 4-0 record against LSU.
Now that Dan Mullen has developed not one but two athletic quarterbacks at Mississippi State, comparisons to Bond continue rolling in.
“I’ve gone and spoken to the team and they’ve showed some highlight stuff to them and things like that,” Bond told me recently. “They put my big head up in the quarterback meeting room, so I think Nick tweeted out a picture of him next to it at some point. So I don’t think he’s in awe, but I think he’s enjoying the comparison. Because people talk about me still around here and I guess that’s good in some ways. But playing 44 straight in the SEC is I think something that he likes and would like to do himself.”
Bond is a permanent fixture on the sidelines at Davis Wade Stadium; from that vantage point, he has seen Mullen put his stamp on a few quarterbacks who remind him of his playing days.
“Well, I think he looks for guys that are athletic,” Bond said. “He said that when he was recruiting Dak, he looked like a fullback that could throw a little bit. He knew, he saw a throwing ability but he saw his athletic prowess, that he’s a great athlete. And I think he saw the same thing with Nick and I think that’s what kind of propels these guys to the next level.
“I’ve always said and believe to this day if that a QB is not a threat to run, then you’re playing 10 versus 11 and makes it more difficult, you know. Unless you’ve just got great receivers, three or four great receivers that can jump out of the gym and catch anything you throw them, you’re kind of handcuffing yourself a little bit if you don’t have an athlete back there.”
We can’t help but compare; it’s what we do as sports fans. So once Prescott came along, they compared him to Bond, and with another big, mobile quarterback gracing the stage in Starkville, we can’t help but compare him to the signal caller in Dallas.
“I think Dak ended up being a better passer at this point and a different type of runner,” Bond said. “Dak was a little heavier, a little stronger, but Nick’s got a little more burst of speed. So they’re very similar, but I think Fitz is gonna get his passing down as well.
“It’s just those 20-yard passes that kind of gets him out. I think he gets under the ball and pushes it a little bit; he gets a little wide on his throw. If he just starts getting on top of that ball and pulling it down, he’s going to be able to turn that nose over and drop it in some holes, so I think he’s working on it and you can tell.
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