If you know anything about Dak Prescott, chances are you know about his mother, and Dak wouldn’t have it any other way. To Dak’s mother, he was Rayne Dakota Prescott, and the faith of the “Faith. Fight. Finish.” words she lived by. His brothers, Tad and Jace, were the fight and the finish.
Dak grew up in a trailer park in rural Louisiana, the youngest of three boys living with their single mother who managed a truck stop. It was in a field behind that trailer park where Dak’s older brothers taught him to play football. Though their surroundings were humble, the family was rich in love and support. Dak has said of his mother, “We were best friends and still are. She was everything, my coach, my mom, my teacher and anything you could think of, it was deeper than just mom and son.”
At 24 years old, Prescott is the starting quarterback and captain of the very team he grew up rooting for, the Dallas Cowboys. Prescott was a fourth-round draft pick rookie who found himself thrust into a starring role in the very first game of his pro career after Tony Romo was injured in the pre-season. He had faith, he was ready. Prescott had a record-breaking rookie season with the Cowboys, keeping the starting quarterback position even when Romo returned from his injury. Prescott led the Cowboys to the best record in the conference, and picked up an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award for himself along the way. Now, with Romo retired, Prescott has become the new face and foundation of America’s Team; playing the most publicized position for what is arguably the biggest, most visible and most valuable sports franchise in the world.
In November 2013, Dak Prescott lost his mother to colon cancer. He was only twenty years old, and half way through his sophomore year at Mississippi State. Instead of falling apart at the loss of his mother, Dak honored her by doing what he knew she would have wanted. He finished the 2013 season as MVP of the Liberty Bowl and was on the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll. He went on to lead the Bulldogs to their first-ever number one national ranking that same year. His performance on the field in the midst of tragedy made him a hero on campus.
“I learned so many lessons from watching my mom fight colon cancer,” Dak has shared. “And I think just toughness, mental toughness was one of the main things I’ve taken and I try to use every day and to never show weakness. And just her courage and fight through that whole battle just showed me how mentally tough one person can be.”
As intense as his role with the Cowboys may be, though, it doesn’t compare to the conversation he had in the summer of 2012 before his freshman year at Mississippi State University. It was then that his mom, Peggy, broke the news that she was battling stage four colon cancer. During her battle against cancer over the next year and a half, Peggy looked forward to the trips to Dak’s games at Mississippi State above all else. When she lost her hair from chemotherapy, Dak and his brothers shaved their heads in a show of solidarity. As cancer took it’s toll, she could no longer walk, not missing a game, she was pushed into the stadium in a wheelchair.
Even in death, his mother remains a big part of who Dak Prescott is, and her memory is reflected in everything he does. After touchdowns, Dak points to the sky in his mother’s honor; a tradition that began at MSU after his first touchdown with his mom watching above and he has continued with the Cowboys. He has "Fight," for his brother Tad, and "Finish," for his brother Jace, tattooed above his shoulder blades. Before every game he writes "Faith" on the tape he wraps around his left wrist over the tattoo that reads "MOM” and his mother’s memory is reflected even in his jersey number, which Prescott chose to commemorate her September 4th birthday.
“I remember her telling me let me be your story,” Dak recalls. It’s not the story he wanted, but if there’s one thing Dak learned from his mother it’s strength in the face of adversity, so he chooses to let his story serve as a beacon of hope for others who have lost loved ones, battled cancer, or simply to have Faith in Finishing the Fight!
4 The Record!
At just 24 years old, Prescott has garnered striking accomplishments, including:
• 2017 Dallas Cowboys Captain
• 2017 Breakthrough Player of the Year ESPY Recipient
• 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
• 2017 Pepsi Fan-Vote Rookie of the Year
• 2017 ESPYs Best Breakthrough Athlete
• 2016 – 2017 Pro Bowler
• Starter in every game in 2016 season, posting a 13-3-1 record, best in NFC
• NFL Rookie record for Playoff performance: TD’s: 3, Yards: 302, QBR: 103.2
• 38 MSU School Records
• Bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology from MSU
• Master’s Degree in Workforce Leadership from MSU