Story realizes dream of paid-education on parents’ anniversary

Published 9:59 pm Thursday, July 18, 2019

LANETT — Kristian Story gave his parents the ultimate wedding anniversary gift that a 17-year-old can provide to a football-loving couple on Thursday morning by announcing that he was committed to accepting a full-ride scholarship to the program his family has always rooted for.

“Nobody wants their parents to have to pay for them to go to college,” Story said. “For me to have mine paid, it’s a good feeling because it’s free education, and I don’t have to worry about them having to take out loans. Everything I learned from them, the things they taught me are starting to come to pass and it feels good.”

The No. 1 Class of 2020 ATH and Lanett senior announced his commitment to the University of Alabama on Thursday morning via social media. As the recruiting process picked up for him early on in high school, Story said that it was important for him to set aside the fandom that he had for the Crimson Tide growing up.

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“I can’t go there just because I’m a fan of them,” Story said. “I need to know that’s the best choice for me and that’s where I need to go.”

Being recruited as an athlete, Story said Alabama has given him the option to play either quarterback or safety. On Thursday afternoon, he said that he’ll probably make his decision right before he gets to Tuscaloosa’s campus next summer.

Defensively in the regular season, Story finished with 55 tackles, two fumble recoveries, six interceptions and two pick-sixes. He pointed to his intangibles and football IQ as his strong suits at safety.

“I know football, and I can kind of see things before they happen,” Story said. “When the ball’s in the air, I can track it well. I can also come down and make tackles.”

As the Panthers’ starting quarterback last season, Story threw for 1828 yards, 36 touchdowns and six interceptions in the regular season. He also led the team with 839 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.

“I also feel like I can see things before they happen at quarterback too,” Story said. “I have a really strong arm, I’m accurate. I know football, I know time management. I’m a leader on the field, and I’m also athletic and mobile, which football’s shifting towards these days, so I feel like I can do it at either position.”

Story is now the second of his three brothers on the path to accepting a full-ride football scholarship. 

His older brother, Tre Story, went to the University of Richmond in Virginia before transferring to Tuskegee University. The brothers have the chance to see all three brothers accept athletic scholarships coming out of high school, as the youngest brother, sophomore Caden Story, received his first offer from the University of Maryland in May. 

“It’s very satisfying because it lets my parents know that they did something right along the way,” Story said. “They didn’t fail as parents. For them to do their job right, I know it made them just as happy as we are.”

His mother, Krisse Story, said that she has prayed over her tithes in church to be seeds for her children’s education for all of their lives.

“I wish I had another word because ‘proud’ does not do my emotions justice,” Krisse said. “I’m beyond proud of my boys, all three of them. They’ve done well, they’ve hung in there through adversity … I’m so thankful that God honored my request and that He honored my seed. It’s showing through the scholarship offers and the opportunities that my children have had in the last few years.”

Story grew up in a family where his father, and Lanett head football coach Clifford Story, Jr., played college football and baseball at Jacksonville State University and his mom’s brother, Marcus Pollard, played in the NFL. Krisse said that coming up as a coaches’ son could be tough sometimes, but Clifford said that the entire journey was worth it on Thursday morning.

“I’m elated. I’m happy,” Clifford said. “I’m overwhelmed, actually. I probably started wiping tears just a few hours ago. When you have a kid who works so hard, puts so much time and effort in to put himself in this position, and you see it come to past, I know he’s been recruited a lot, but I know this is it. We won’t have to go here or there anymore, it’s just now concentrating on going to Alabama.”