Rookie Dak Prescott never expected to open the season as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback, but he can thank Eli Manning for a helping hand in setting the stage for Sunday’s game against the Giants.

Prescott, who replaced the injured Tony Romo as the No. 1 quarterback, said Wednesday that attending the Manning Passing Academy played a big part in his development.

“I went to the passing academy as a camper when I was in high school and then two years in a row as a counselor, and I definitely learned a lot,” Prescott said on a conference call with Giants’ reporters. “It was great to be around Eli and Peyton [Manning], the whole Manning family, and just have them coach us up, teach us some things.”

Prescott said his first year at the academy was critically important to his success.

“Going into my junior year in high school, I think that might have been the most vital time of my learning stage at this position,” said Prescott, who attended Haughton High School in Louisiana before playing at Mississippi State. “I think the Manning camp helped me tremendously. It was going to be my first year as an outright starter in high school, and I wanted to learn some things on drops, just how the quarterbacks think mentally and things like that. No better place to go than the Manning camps, the first family of football. It’s all worked out.”

What does Prescott remember about Eli?

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“Real laid-back guy,” Prescott said. “The one thing I took from him is his demeanor and how calm he was about everything. They’d go out there and have the throwing competition, and him and Peyton would be challenging each other. Peyton would be so serious, and Eli was just like, whatever. But he would hit every single target, and then Peyton was over there mad and Eli just laughed.”

Prescott looks forward to making his NFL debut, albeit much sooner than he had expected.

“I’ve planned all my life to be in this position, but I didn’t expect it to happen this quickly,” said Prescott, who replaced Romo after the veteran suffered a broken bone in his back during a preseason game. “Life doesn’t change for me. I’m the same. I prepare each and every day the same if I was third string to the way I am now. Just put my best effort out there on film. It’s fun to be in the huddle around a bunch of great guys.”

Prescott said newly acquired Mark Sanchez, who was signed after being released by the Broncos, has been a big help.

“He’s a veteran,” Prescott said of the Jets’ former first-round pick. “No matter if he’s been here or not, he’s been around the league and seen a lot of different playbooks and defenses. He helps me every day.”