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Story backs off of Tennessee commitment, open to more options

LANETT — The options are now open again for Lanett junior quarterback Kristian Story.

The four-star athlete and Class of 2020 No. 1 prospect in the state of Alabama announced his de-commitment from the University of Tennessee on Tuesday morning. While the Volunteers are still on good terms with Story and are near the top of his list, he wanted to take a step back and enjoy the full recruiting process, according to his father and head coach, Clifford Story, Jr.

“There were a few other schools that he was interested in as far as going to visit or going to attend games,” Clifford said. “In a lot of the recruiting process, he wouldn’t get the full recruitment because some of (the schools) were telling him that was committed to Tennessee.”

Kristian made the decision after speaking with his family on the matter.

“I told him, ‘son, whatever decision you make, I’m going to support you wholeheartedly,’”

Clifford said. “Wherever you want to commit, I’ll support you. Wherever you want to de-commit, I’ll support you, but this doesn’t happen every day. Take your time, visit all the schools, get to know the coaches and enjoy the moment. Then, make that decision.”

Kristian verbally committed to Tennessee in March after visiting the campus earlier this year.

“He wants to slow it down and doesn’t want to make a hasty decision over feelings he had when he initially went there,” Clifford said. “That was a feeling he had at the time where he felt like that’s what he wanted to do without weighing all of his options.”

Kristian’s options are now open to six schools. The University of Alabama, Clemson University, University of Louisville, University of Nebraska and Georgia Tech join Tennessee on the list of schools he will focus on during this recruiting period.

Although Kristian grew up an Alabama fan, Clifford said that he couldn’t guarantee the Crimson Tide are his new frontrunners.

This season, the Panthers of Lanett High School haven’t just dealt with the major recruiting attention of Kristian, but senior safety and wide receiver Trikweze Bridges as well.

“It taught me a lot in the recruiting process to have those two guys on the national level,” Clifford said. “I’ve learned a lot of dos and don’ts, but I always tell the kids that the final decision is going to be theirs. My thing for them is to make the best decision that’s going to be beneficial to them for the next four or five years.”

Last Friday night at LaFayette, Story broke free for a 52-yard touchdown run after struggling to scramble early in the first half against the Bulldogs. He also completed two touchdown passes to Bridges on the night in a 35-7 win. This Friday, the Panthers face Wadley High School at home.