STARKVILLE — A few years ago, quite a few it seems, I was flipping channels.
If I see four or five people around a desk talking on ESPN, I usually will keep flipping toward MeTV.
This time I saw a graphic of Mississippi with text that illustrated the winningest major college quarterbacks in the history of our fine state.
This is a state that’s produced a legend like Archie Manning and Super Bowl and regular season MVPs like his son Eli and Brett Favre.
More recently there’s been a beloved Mississippi State figure in Dak Prescott, who is entering his seventh season as the Dallas Cowboys starter, and guys like Chad Kelly and Matt Corral, who revived Sugar Bowl echoes with Ole Miss.
None of them is atop the leaderboard.
Former Mississippi State quarterback Wayne Madkin, though, believes he knows who is.
“I believe it’s me,” Madkin said.
At a time it was, but there’s been updated information.
Southern Miss records show former quarterback Austin Davis with 30 wins from 2008-2011.
That still leaves Madkin, who played from 1998-2001, as Mississippi’s winningest SEC quarterback.
Prescott became perhaps the most decorated quarterback in MSU history and led the Bulldogs to a four-week run at No. 1, but he was 23-10 as a starter.
“He didn’t get that one,” said Madkin with a humble laugh.
Busy in the lives of his family, Madkin makes two or three MSU home games a year.
He can’t help but wonder what it might have been like if time and circumstance had placed him in the Mike Leach system.
“Oh, no doubt,” Madkin said. “Some people may not know this but in high school (in Huntsville, Alabama) we were a spread offense. I was in the shotgun 80 percent of the time. That’s what we did back then. I came from a spread offense and had to convert to more of a traditional pro style, I formation. That was something I had to make the adjustment to. The biggest thing to me is the lateral play, the short play, splitting them out, getting the ball into your playmakers’ hands and letting them make a play for you.”
Madkin believes the Bulldogs are returning one of the SEC’s best quarterbacks in Will Rogers.
Like Madkin, Rogers got on the field early in his career.
“That first year you’re out there you’re just trying not to break things, but you can really see his progression, his taking ownership of the things he can do,” Madkin said.
Experiences like last year’s wins at Texas A&M and Auburn are major assets in Rogers’ progression.
“As a quarterback you want to drive those wins to help get you over the seven and eight wins to the 10-game threshold,” Madkin said.
Madkin broke into the lineup as a redshirt freshman in 1998.
He helped the Bulldogs to the SEC championship game that season and to Peach Bowl and Independence Bowl victories the next two.
“I’ve always said as a quarterback you’ve got to be a servant leader and at the end of the day the one stat that counts is the W’s and L’s,” Madkin said. “Do you sit back and take four or five sacks and put your offense in third-and-20, or do you throw the ball away and damage your numbers?
“As a quarterback you do what’s best for your team,” he said.
By the most meaningful criteria, Wayne Madkin is still winning.
He’s gone on to an impactful career with Entergy and as a citizen of Mississippi who now lives with his family in Clinton.
These days Madkin’s challenges don’t involve avoiding an Arkansas pass rush to convert a late fourth down and keep SEC West title hopes alive.
Instead he’s working to get electric charging stations set up along Mississippi’s highways.
Either way, a lot of people in Mississippi are needing another win from Wayne Madkin.
He doesn’t think much about being a part of the winningest quarterback conversation.
“I’ve flipped to the next chapter in my life,” he says.
Sometimes, though, a random phone call brings it up.
“It’s still an honor. It’s pretty special to me particularly with all the great players that have come through here.”
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