Coming into the 2016 season, the Mississippi State Bulldogs weren’t even sure Nick Fitzgerald was going to be their starting quarterback.

However, he won the job and the rest is history, as he finished second to only LSU RB Derrius Guice in SEC rushing yards last year.

Now fully emerged from under legendary QB Dak Prescott’s shadow, Fitzgerald told The Clarion-Ledger that he’s finding his own path in Starkville:

“Hopefully, by the time I’m done I’m not remembered as just the guy who came after Dak Prescott,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t need to be known as the best and I don’t need to be known as anything other than someone who came in, loved Mississippi State, gave it his all and played well.”

He added that the best way to win respect and create a legacy is to make plays and win games, which is what he’ll try to do more of this fall:

“With more time here and kind of making plays and being looked at as someone who was a leader and did what we needed to do to lead the offense, you get a little more respect, people want to hang around you a little bit more and they accept you a little bit more,” he said.

The Bulldogs open the 2017 season with a game against Charleston Southern on Saturday, Sept. 2. Fitzgerald will try to get his season of to a good start in that game.