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State#039;s best QB will be in Troy

Think about great quarterbacks who have walked the campuses of the University of Alabama and Auburn University.

There are the greats like Kenny "Snake" Stabler, Bart Starr and Pat Sullivan.

They are in a league by themselves.

Then you have those who were good, but not Stabler, Starr or Sullivan good like Jason Campbell, Jay Barker, Stan White and Walter Lewis.

They were great quarterbacks, but the best quarterback this season isn't wearing orange and blue or crimson and white.

He's wearing green and black and will be right down the road this weekend at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.

Darrell Hackney has steadily come along to become the state's best quarterback, and he'll show just how good he is this weekend when UAB and Troy University duke it out.

Hackney certainly made his claim as the state's best quarterback against Tennessee this past weekend. No one was expecting UAB to even stay within 20 points of the Vols much less a touchdown.

In fact the Blazers came a few inches away from possibly sending the game into overtime. Hackney found Lance Rhodes open in the end zone on fourth down with less than four minutes, but his attempt was too high.

You could hear a collective sigh of relief from more than 100,000 in Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

That's just how dangerous Hackney is.

The senior from Atlanta reminds me of a young quarterback who played came from a high school half the size of Hackney's alma mater, Douglass, and went on to play for one of the top football programs in the country.

His name was Charlie Ward.

Ward may not have had the same 6-foot-1, 240-pound frame that Hackney has, but the two are alike in playing style.

I remember watching Ward shred opposing defenses while at Florida State with his athletic ability to run and throw just like Hackney.

Ward had the ability to turn nothing into a huge gain. Hackney has that same ability.

If there is a difference between the two, Hackney would have to be the better passer. Last season, he threw for 3,070 and 26 touchdowns in his junior season.

That total is almost 50 yards more than Ward's passing total in his senior season when he won the Heisman Trophy and led FSU to its first national championship.

If there is one quarterback in the nation that is overlooked right now, Hackney would be the one. And don't be surprised if his name comes up as a possible Heisman candidate.

He certainly has the tools to be one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Whether he'll be able to take that talent to the National Football League is the big question given his short stature.

No matter, if you have an opportunity and would like to see the best quarterback in the state, make plans to be in Troy this Saturday.

You won't be disappointed.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. E-mail him at kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com or call (334) 383-9302 ext. 122.