The "Deuce" will be loose in Tuscaloosa
Hartselle's Stover commits to Alabama; will wear No. 2
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
He can't wait to run out of the tunnel. He can't wait to wear the crimson and white.
He can't wait to be the "Deuce."
Nikita Stover, ranked the No. 1 recruit in the state in some publications, verbally committed to The University of Alabama to play for the Crimson Tide.
Coaches tell him, the No. 2 jersey will be waiting for him.
"It's gotta be special," Stover said of "Deuce" chants he will hear when taking the field. "There's no other number fans do that for."
Stover is listed at 6-2, 190 pounds, and said he just wanted some pressure lifted.
"I'm focused on the upcoming season and my grades," he said. "I just wanted to get it out of the way."
LSU, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Clemson, Arkansas and Michigan, among others, all wanted Stover, but Alabama seemed to be the perfect fit.
The Crimson Tide will graduate six wide receivers next year, and Stover might see action early in his college career.
"They are graduating so many seniors down there, and it might give me a chance to play early," he said. "Plus, it's close to home. Friends and family will get to come see me play."
Last year, Stover caught 26 passes for 723 yards, averaging nearly 28 yards per catch. But most of his catches came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, and he did the rest.
Stover also rushed for 176 yards on five carries, including two touchdowns on reverse plays against Muscle Shoals.
By committing so early, Stover said he would be able to concentrate more on even improving those numbers, whether it is from the receiver or quarterback position. He had been leaning toward Alabama for quite some time.
"I never was worried about all the stuff that happened down there," Stover said, referring to the Franchione-to-Price-to-Shula merry-go-round and the scholarship restrictions. "Mike Price was the one that got me started on Alabama, and Coach (Mike) Shula, I met him, and he's a nice guy. I like what kind of offense he's going to run."
Despite his commitment to Alabama, he expects other schools to talk him out of his decision – like Michigan, who said they wanted to see him play once before offering a scholarship.
Stover grew up a Michigan fan and thought about heading to Ann Arbor. He wears No. 2 because of Charles Woodson, a Michigan alum, but said there's little doubt – he will be the "Deuce" at Alabama next season.