Kristian Story remains focused on dominating the field and accomplishing his dreams
Published 11:45 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Kristian Story’s path has been far from linear, but nonetheless, the former Lanett standout has still found himself on a path to success.
After four years at Alabama, Story found himself at an impasse. After a lot of thought, Story decided to make a change and enter the transfer portal.
“It was very hard to transfer actually. I mean, I had built so many relationships there,” Story said. “Growing up an Alabama fan and just playing for Coach [Nick] Saban, nobody wants to leave a situation like that. At the end of the day, I had to make a business decision for myself.”
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On Jan. 10, Story announced that he would be taking his talents to the University of Kentucky. As a four-star prospect out of Lanett, Story had a prior relationship with the Wildcats as the school recruited him before his decision to come to Alabama in 2020.
“I’ve always liked Kentucky,” Story said. “It just felt like a good place for me to come and play my last year.”
Story also saw an opportunity to play under the now most tenured head coach in the SEC Mark Stoops. Along with Stoops, Story also felt that he could make an impact in the secondary while being coached by safeties coach Frank Buffalo and defensive backs coach Chris Collins.
“He seems like a player’s coach that’s going to do whatever it takes to put his players in a position to be successful,” Story said about Stoops. “My relationship with the DB coaches is still growing. He just let me know his coaching style and the way that he can help me develop and sharpen my tools so that I can just go out and do the things that I want to do on the field.
At the time of his announcement, Story could not have foretold how different things were about to become at the University of Alabama.
On the same day as Story announced his decision to join the Kentucky program, Alabama’s legendary coach Nick Saban announced his retirement.
“I was shocked,” Story said. “It’s crazy because I never thought I’d see that day. He’s 72, but he wasn’t really slowing down so I never thought I’d see that day.”
Every player that came through Saban’s program has had a story to tell, but few have worked as closely with the legendary coach as Story did.
Saban, a former defensive back at Kent State, was not Story’s position coach but the two did spend a lot of time together. Defensive backs were always one of Saban’s specialties at Alabama, and Story saw that firsthand during his four years in Tuscaloosa.
“With him being a DB-focused guy, we were around each other every day,” Story said. “We built a pretty good connection over the last four years just from being around each other every day. It was kind of tough. He wasn’t necessarily my position coach, but he was a guy that day in and day out we were watching practice film with. He’s the one that we’re going over that with.”
Leaving Alabama was tough for Story beyond just a football standpoint. Over the course of his time in Tuscaloosa, Story forged lifelong bonds with members of the team, the coaching staff and the community.
The community and university also had a major impact on Story. Story said that his time in Tuscaloosa helped him grow as a player and become a more well-rounded person.
“There were a lot of really good people around the facility,” Story said. “That place can help you grow a lot as a player, as a student and just as a person. I feel like it helped me in life in general.”
Story is now fully focused on the next chapter of his journey, and he hopes to be a major part of Kentucky’s success this season and further develop himself as an athlete.
“For the team, I just want to help Kentucky and Coach Stoops build on the program they have and push their vision forward,” Story said. “Hopefully, we’ll see how far we can take that.”
“Personally, just to come in be able to show leadership skills, develop new relationships with people, and just sharpen my skills so that I can go out and dominate myself.”
Over the course of his college career, there have been several bumps in the road for Story, but the dream has remained the same.
“My mindset is still focused on the NFL,” Story said. “I know that is a destination that I can make it to. I’m doing whatever it takes to make that dream come true.”
This season with Kentucky is set to be the most important season of Story’s career as it serves as a major opportunity for him to put himself in a position to accomplish the goal he’s had since he first picked up a football.
Story grew up dreaming of being in the NFL. Story’s uncle, Marcus Pollard, spent 14 seasons in the NFL as a tight end and currently works for the Jaguars as the Director of Player Engagement and Youth Football.
With Pollard in the NFL, Story has always known that it was possible. Now, Story is ready to do whatever it takes to make that dream come true.
“It would mean the world to me because that’s all I’ve ever really wanted,” Story said. “As a kid, they would always ask me what was my dream job. I would always be like, to play in the NFL. They would tell me I needed a plan B. I would always tell them, no I don’t, not right now.”
Story making it to the NFL would mean the world to him and his family because of the years of hard work they have all put in to get to that point, but it would also be huge for the community of Lanett.
Athletics have always been at the heart of Lanett High School, and several athletes within the community have dreams of playing professionally. Story getting drafted or being signed to an NFL roster would serve as inspiration for every kid with a dream in Lanett and Chambers County.
“For the community, I think it would be big just to show kids from Lanett that it doesn’t matter where you come from,” Story said. “You can still achieve anything you want to achieve if you just put your head down and do whatever it takes to get there, and just trust God and everything will work out in your favor.”