Local quarterbacks react differently to Vick's woes

The Michael Vick federal indictment is a national story that hits on the local level.


The plight of the state's most famous quarterback has been noticed by the area's top young quarterbacks. They all want to be like Mike Vick.

But not this Mike Vick.

Strom Thurmond's Aramis Hillary is the area's top returning quarterback. He's 6-foot-2 and has been timed at 4.69 seconds in the 40-yard dash. The 216-pound senior led the area in passing yards and touchdown passes last year.

He'll take a cautious approach to the 18 pages of allegations that named Vick more than 50 times.

"Maybe it's a misunderstanding or he was at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Hillary, who has Division I-A offers from Middle Tennessee and Mississippi State. "Or he didn't think it would escalate or he'd be connected."

Hillary said he would still be able to watch Vick play this fall.

"It will be no different to me," Hillary said, who lists Vick's teammate D.J. Shockley as his favorite quarterback. "He'll still be Vick on the field and one of the most exciting players in the NFL."

There's one thing he finds confusing about the Vick story.

"If he's innocent, how did he not know all this was going on," he said. "Everybody has people in a family that are up to good things and not-so-good things. I'd make sure the people who are up to no good would not be living in any of my houses. It sounds like he had some thugs living in that house."

Greenbrier quarterback Nick Richards can't fathom how Vick would risk his career by being involved in these charges.

"If I got that big I wouldn't think of doing something to mess it up," he said. "Vick worked hard to be where he is in the NFL. That's a lot to lose over fighting with dogs."

The 6-foot-4 senior disagreed with something he saw on ESPN.

"They had people saying he would still be the face of Atlanta sports," said Richards, who does not own a dog. "That he'll play and be a big influence whether people hate him or love him. I'm not a Vick fan. But I bet this is a big letdown to the fans who are. It has to be a letdown."

Westside's Sanders Commings will play quarterback this fall. He's an elusive runner. He's the one quarterback in the area whose style this fall will resemble Vick's the most. He wasn't that surprised to hear of Vick's current plight.

"It didn't shock me," Commings said, who has offers from Auburn, Georgia, Maryland and South Carolina. "His brother Marcus Vick got into trouble, too. I'd like to be like him as a quarterback. I idolize him as a QB. But not any of this other stuff."

Hillary used the word "paparazzi" to describe all the negative press being heaped on Vick.

"With all this I can still look at Mike Vick at what he is," said Hillary, who sings in a gospel choir. "He's an entertaining football player. Not a role model."

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.