Stover close to graduating junior college
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle fans and Alabama fans alike have to be excited about one of Itawamba Community College's upcoming graduating class members.
Nikita Stover, a football standout for the Tigers who committed to play for Alabama in 2004 but failed to qualify academically, has been hard at work getting his grades back up at the tiny junior college in Fulton, Miss. The speedy wide receiver is only a few classes away from graduating Itawamba and returning to The University of Alabama.
"Itawamba has really helped me with their tutoring programs to get my grades back up," Stover said. "I've only got a few more classes left there and then I'll be able to graduate with 64 credit hours."
Following Stover's graduation, he plans to return to the Crimson Tide football program in December of this year. Stover will participate in spring practice and be ready to join the team for the 2006 season.
Stover will join Alabama as a junior academically, but will have three years of eligibility for the football team after red-shirting his first year at Itawamba. It's been a long journey for Stover to return to his dream of playing for the Tide, a dream he almost gave up in 2004.
"(When I learned I was ineligible) it really broke me down," he said. "I was so upset that I dropped out of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game and was almost to the point of giving up football. But one day I got a call from a recruiting coordinator at Itawamba and he told me about the program they had there.
"I decided to go take a look and really liked what I saw."
Itawamba has had several former players go on to play for successful college programs, and has even seen alumni go to the NFL, including the New Orleans Saints' Joe Horn and Duce Staley of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Stover, who recently ran a 4.39 40 time and estimates he currently weighs between 200 and 205 pounds, credits Itawamba with keeping him in football shape.
"During the summer I've been working out and running four days a week," he said. "They're definitely helping me keep in shape."
His teammates at Itawamba have also given Stover a new nickname, "The Problem," since he is such a problem to deal with on the field because of his talent. During his senior year at Hartselle, Stover was considered by many recruiting gurus to be one of the best receivers in the country.
Stover said that he looks forward to coming back to Alabama, and has remained in contact with both players and coaches in the Tide program.
"I talk to the players all the time; I'm good friends with quite a few of them," he said. "I've talked to the coaches some, especially (wide receivers) coach (Charlie) Harbison, but right now they can't talk to me because of NCAA rules."
He is equally excited about what he believes he can bring to the Alabama offense in the future.
"I think that I can jump up and get the ball," Stover said. "I'm pretty powerful now that I've been working out, and I'm faster. I really think that I can be a deep threat at receiver."