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COMMENTARY: Future bright for Hill

By Matt Riley, The Parthenon
August 10, 2004
(U-WIRE) HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- In my four years as a Marshall student and three as a sports writer for the Parthenon, I've seen my fair share of great moments in Thundering Herd sports.

From the Olympic sport ranks of Jessica Johnson and Ashley Kroh making it to the finals of the NCAA Tournament to being in Kansas for the Herd's upset of Kansas State last year on the gridiron, it's been a heck of a ride for me to be a part of as a Marshall student.

The moments are great, but perhaps the best part of the job is getting to meet the players and coaches, learning the personalities of the game and being behind the scenes of the action.

From the jokes of Bob Pruett and the heart of Byron Leftwich to the want and desire of women's basketball, tennis and softball, I've seen just about everything from every sport, and I've loved every minute of it.

But one of my favorite stories to see unfold has been current standout quarterback Stan Hill.

Hill has led some dramatics of his own on the field with a comeback win over Miami of Ohio. With a leap into the end zone in the closing seconds in his first career start subbing for Leftwich, Hill vaulted himself into Herd lore.

However, it hasn't been all good press for Hill since his arrival at Marshall. He's had a few brushes with the law and received criticism for not having the clean reputation of his predecessors Leftwich and Chad Pennington in the media. Hill's been able to shake off that image and is now ready to lead the Herd into its final season in the Mid-American Conference. Hill's ready to showcase what himself and the Herd are made of.

After only playing in five games last year after a knee injury, the quarterback from Tupelo, Miss., proved he can play and he's showing his leadership abilities. He's one of the top passers in the MAC, if not the best, and he's also ready to show he can be the man like Pennington and Leftwich.

While in Detroit Tuesday for the MAC Media Day, I witnessed the growth of Hill first-hand as he coolly took to the podium to handle the barrage of questions from the press and he smoothly answered like an old pro.

See, there was a catch to this. All the other players that sat at the table had a crutch to lean on. They each had their coach beside them to handle the brunt of the answers. Hill did not, because head coach Bob Pruett was attending a funeral.

I've interviewed Stan on several occasions and you can tell he's gotten used to the attention with more and more experience, but the way he handled himself and represented Marshall was impressive. I'm not friends with Stan by any means, just an acquaintance, but Hill always has something friendly to say and ask how I'm doing. He's one of the nicest guys I've met while covering Marshall sports and I like to seem him succeed. I think it's great. I like to see stories unfold like that.

There was no doubt in my mind after my first interview with Hill last season that he had what it takes to be the man in the ranks of college football. He's confident in his ability and cool under fire. It was unfortunate that he wasn't able to play the whole season because who knows what kind of numbers he would have put up. After seeing him take the stage this week in Detroit, I can only imagine the greatness this season holds for the senior gunslinger because the confidence looks like it's continued to grow. I can't wait to see what happens.

I think this can be a huge year for Stan as the Herd leave the MAC and he leaves his mark as another great quarterback in the Herd's legacy. I look forward to being there every step of the way and seeing more stories unfold, more personalities revealed and more Herd memories pile up.

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