Flanked by his father Clifford Story and his mother Krisse Story, Lanett senior Kristian Story signs to play at Alabama on Wednesday in Lanett.

Throughout the 2019 season, Lanett senior quarterback Kristian Story has been one of the most talked-about high school players in Alabama. On Wednesday, he made it official that he’ll continue to make plays in the Yellowhammer State.

Story signed with Alabama on Wednesday as part of the early December signing period. The moment was a treasured one for Story, who grew up cheering on Alabama and set his sights on attending his dream school when he first committed to the Crimson Tide on July 18.

“I just felt like it was the best fit for me academically and athletically. It was a family feel there ever since they began to recruit me,” Story said. “My emotions right now are all over the place, really. Knowing that I grew up an Alabama fan dreaming of playing for them and now I’m actually signing to go play for them, it’s a surreal feeling.”

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Story is considered a four-star athlete per 247Sports’ composite ratings. According to the same metrics, Story is the ninth-best player in the state of Alabama’s Class of 2020 and the sixth-best athlete in the entire nation.

Story has been highly-regarded as one of the state’s top players, and he showed again and again this fall that he was well worth the hype.

Story threw for 2,865 passing yards and 35 touchdowns and also ran for 1,293 rushing yards and 17 scores. His efforts this fall helped him set two AHSAA state records for total touchdowns in a career as well as total yards gained in a career.

Story arguably saved his best for last in the Panthers’ state title game matchup with Mars Hill Bible. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Story went off against the defending state champions, throwing for a Class 1A title game-record 249 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 110 yards and two scores.

Story also recovered an onside kick, recovered a Mars Hill fumble and made the game-sealing interception in the Panthers’ 41-30 victory. The win meant Story would leave Lanett with two state titles in three seasons.

Wednesday was a family affair for Story, and the Lanett auditorium’s stage was quickly filled by relatives and friends who wished to share in his big moment. Kristian’s father, Lanett head coach Clifford Story, and his mother, Krisse, were at the forefront of the ceremony, and both wiped tears from their eyes as their middle son realized his dream of playing for Alabama.

“It’s surreal. We’re big Alabama fans. Watching Kristian grow up — I love all my boys, but he’s always loved athletics,” Krisse Story said. “It’s bigger than football. God has a special calling on his life. He’s using football to get him to the stage where he needs to be.

“This is a big moment for our family. We’re so thankful to God, and I’m so thankful to our tribe and our entire support system.”

“When you see things that you prayed about — and not necessarily going to Alabama. I always prayed that God would give me boys and that they would go to school for free. That’s all my dad ever preached to me growing up, getting an education,” Clifford Story said. “I was more worried about whether or not (Kristian) was going to do what he was supposed to do. He’s been able to do it.

“As a dad to see one of your sons (Trey) going to school on scholarship and another one about to go, now we’ve got to get (youngest son) Caden headed in that direction also so I can retire, ride around and just watch them play.”

Story said he’s most looking forward to arriving in Tuscaloosa and developing a stronger bond with everyone as well as working alongside some of the best football players in the country. He reiterated he’s not sure what position he’ll play at Alabama, but he added if he plays defensive back he would relish learning from Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who is regarded as one of the best secondary coaches.

Several people who spoke about Story on Wednesday explained they could tell he was special from an early age, including Lanett assistant coach Chip Seagle. Seagle recalled a young Story running into his truck while playing during football practice and damaging the mirror, which led Clifford Story to offer to pay for the damage.

Seagle declined the offer and explained that Kristian would one day pay him back. On Wednesday, Seagle jokingly pulled out the bill from many years ago and reminded Kristian of the debt he still owed.

“He was like in the fourth or fifth grade. I said, ‘This joker is going to pay me.’ Clifford said, ‘He can’t pay you.’ I said, ‘When he makes a signing bonus one day, he’s going to pay me,” Seagle said. “So here’s your presentation — a $125 bill for my left side-view mirror. In three or four years, your butt’s going to pay me, Ken Ken!”

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