Nikita Stover goes from playing to teaching

Former Hartselle and Alabama player puts skills to teaching and training

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

 

We live in a world these days where sports have been taken to a completely new level.  Each year, hundreds of athletes come out of high school and go on to the next level. These athletes understand the importance of a college scholarship and put themselves through rigorous training in order to achieve them. It’s up to people such as former Hartselle and Alabama player Nikita Stover to train them. Stover has become a mainstay in this area thanks to his career with the Tigers and Crimson Tide and has now devoted his career to help the next generation of athletes prepare for the next level.

Originally, from Decatur, Stover’s parents quickly thought it would be a better idea to move him outside of Decatur. “I was raised in Stonegate projects which is a rough part of Decatur,” Stover said. “When I was in sixth grade I moved in with my dad in Danville and I stayed there till ninth grade which is when I moved to Hartselle.” While Stover would grow up to be a football star, football wasn’t where he thought he would end up at a young age. “I always liked basketball and growing up in Austin and Decatur, basketball was where I thought would end up,” Stover said, “It was about my seventh grade year that my dad noticed I was a different kind of athlete.” When Stover turned his attention towards Hartselle and football, it was then he began to turn heads. Stover stepped in as a freshmen and immediately began to play both ways under then Hartselle head coach Mike Smith. Stover was also on hand to be a part of the 2002 squad that advanced all the way to the semifinals of the AHSAA playoffs. “We were a tough team that year. We had three linebackers that all signed, Stover said, “The problem was we had to deal with Russellville who was a loaded team. They were the only thing that kept us from the finals.” Stover was also on hand for the arrival of current Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey who would go on to lead the Tigers to their first state title in 2011. Even though Stover would only be there for one year under Godsey, it was clear that Godsey would have a profound effect on the program. “There was no doubt that he was going to be good. He brought in a spread offense which at that time was new,” Stover said, “You can see now just how good he has been. His record speaks for itself.”

From then Stover would focus on college, although Alabama wasn’t his very first choice. “I grew up a Michigan fan, I loved Charles Woodson which is why I wore number 2. I also loved LSU and Miami,” Stover said, “I decided to go to Alabama because it was closer to home and to my family.”

When Stover arrived at Alabama, after spending one year at junior college, things were much different than the days when they dominated the college football landscape. The Crimson Tide were in the middle of the Mike Shula era and were weaning their way off NCAA sanctions. It was when Nick Saban came in 2007 that things began to pick up. “It’s funny because to be honest everyone wanted Coach Spurrier for the job,” Stover said “When they brought in coach Saban it was like alright we can live with this, but when he got there you could tell he was serious about it.” The first year under Saban would be a bumpy on. The Tide was narrowly defeated by eventual champion LSU but then gave up three straight losses to Miss. State, LA. Monroe and Auburn. “The LSU game was one of those games where it kind of flattened us afterwards,” Stover said, “We felt like we had the talent but couldn’t finish.”

Saban would get it turned around fast though in 2008, which was Stover’s senior year. In the first game against Clemson, Alabama served notice that they were back as they clobbered the Tigers 34-10. The Tide would turn even more heads when they embarrassed Georgia it the now infamous “black out” game. “That was a crazy week. Everyone was going crazy and the coaches were challenging us so much,” Stover said, “but it was fun to just go in and do that and they think just because they wore a different color that it would make a difference.” Alabama’s successful season would lead them to a faceoff with college superstar Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators for a spot in the national championship. “Tebow was one of the best players in college ever period. People can talk all they want but the way he was with his faith and all was real, it wasn’t an act,.” Stover said “He’s a true leader, because we were up in that game and at one point he just took it to another level and elevated his game.”

Now that he is out of college, Stover has set his sights on helping other players. It first started out as a youth football coach. “I started out as a youth football coach,” Stover said “and then some parents asked if I would do some private training sessions.” From then on, the athletes he began training took a bigger leap. Stover has worked with local stars such as Jaylan and Jamal Jackson and is currently training Alabama commit Chadarious Townsend. Stover has now opened his own training program called Stover core 9 and trains anybody that wants his services. “I just feel like it’s my calling,” Stover said “to me sports is a way out for anybody that wants to work hard for it.” Stover also knows that none of this would have been possible without the role models he had growing up. “This town (Hartselle) and the people here have done so much for me and have helped me get to where I am today.”

Falkville

Larry Madison has been a pillar in Falkville for four decades

Hartselle

Hartselle trio nominated for two K-LOVE awards

Hartselle

Hartselle students chosen to attend Girls State

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle Kiwanis Club continues scholarly legacy with annual golf tournament

Editor's picks

Heartbreaking finish: Hartselle comes up a run short in state baseball finals

Decatur

Fallen Morgan County officers remembered, families honored  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle drops Game 1 to Hillcrest, needs two wins for state title

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Despite title loss, Hartselle thankful for state experience 

Editor's picks

Hartselle baseball legend dies

Breaking News

Hartselle baseball legend William Booth dies at 79

At a Glance

ALDOT patching area of Thompson Road tomorrow, Thursday

At a Glance

Spring-time market day in Hartselle scheduled for May 18 

Hartselle

New Crestline Elementary School welcomes students

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle industry closing, affecting more than 150 jobs  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Habitat for Humanity applications for homeownership available June 3 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

State seeking death penalty for Fort Payne woman accused of pushing victim off cliff

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Pilot of ultralight dies in Hartselle plane crash

Editor's picks

Northern lights visible from north Alabama

Hartselle

Hartselle students to attend Boys State

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

High scorers: 42 Hartselle students a part of ACT 30 plus club

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle projects budget surplus based on midyear numbers 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Planned Hartselle library already piquing interest 

Brewer

Students use practical life skills at Morgan County 4-H competition

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

After 13 years underground, the cicadas are coming 

x