Exciting news for QB Story

Published 10:17 pm Thursday, April 5, 2018

A major piece of recruiting news broke late last Thursday.

Via Twitter, Lanett High School quarterback Kristian Story announced his commitment to the University of Tennessee. He pledged to the Volunteers after spending a day on campus with his family, meeting members of the coaching staff and observing practice.

He became the first commitment in Tennessee’s 2020 recruiting class. Within a matter of hours, his decision made headlines on national recruiting websites.

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It was a pivotal day for Tennessee, and for Story.

Though he is only a sophomore, Story has demonstrated limitless potential on the gridiron. He completed 144-of-221 pass attempts for more than 3,300 yards last fall in his first season as Lanett’s starter.

He also tossed 42 touchdowns, breaking the school record held previously by his older brother, Tre, now a rising sophomore quarterback at the University of Richmond.

The younger Story, who stands 6-foot-2, supplemented his aerial production with his feet. He added 900 yards rushing and nine touchdowns en route to the Class 2A state title.

Story was selected to the All-State first team following his memorable campaign. He also was chosen as a MaxPreps Sophomore All-American.

Tennessee offered Story in January, after he collected his bevy of postseason accolades. He then attended the Volunteers Junior Day recruiting event in early March before making his follow-up visit last week.

He chose Tennessee over Southeastern Conference rivals Alabama and Georgia, along with Mississippi State, Louisville and Jacksonville State  — his father’s alma mater.

Clifford Story, Lanett’s head football coach, said he supported his son’s commitment to the Vols and called the school a “perfect fit.”

I think it could be, too. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt appears to be breathing new life into a program that sputtered under Butch Jones. When Story arrives in two years, it should be more competitive than it has been in recent seasons.

Plus, Story is the type of high-caliber recruit Tennessee can build an entire class around. His early pledge should provide the Volunteers with an edge when vying for other top talent.

Additionally, Story’s expedited selection should bolster his standing in the eyes of Tennessee’s coaches. His relationships with the staff will be years old by the time he steps on campus. That familiarity could give him an advantage when contending for a starting spot, pending his continued progression.

It is important to remember, however, that Story’s verbal commitment is non-binding. After publicizing his announcement, he confirmed that his recruitment will remain open. This means he can decommit from Tennessee without repercussions if the Vols fail to improve or experience another coaching shakeup.

A lot can change in two years, including a high schooler’s dream destination.

But for now, Story has dreams of thriving on Rocky Top. And that is incredibly exciting.

Sam Chandler is the sports editor at The Valley Times-News. He can be reached by phone at 334-644-8106 or by email at sam.chandler@valleytimes-news.com.