07 June 2008
| Nikita Stover - #9 - WR - 6-0 - 197 - Hartselle, AL - Itawamba County CC
One of the top players in the state of Alabama coming out of high school, Stover had to begin his career at Junior College, an early indicator of the consistency problems that have plagued his career so far. For every good thing he does, it seems there's a bad to go with it.
Case in point: after having to start at a Junior College he used his 2nd JuCo year as a redshirt year and graduated early. That gave him an opportunity to enroll at Alabama in the spring of 2006 and participate in spring practice, as well as have 3 years of eligibility.
To this point, however, there have just been flashes of brilliance, like a long catch and run for a TD against Auburn in 2006 to help Bama get back into that game. There have also been the times of ineffectiveness, like the 6 games in his career that he has not played due to a coach’s decision. He had a decent sophomore year at Bama with 12 receptions for 192 yds & 2 TDs in 9 games. But that was followed by a bit of a step back in 2007 with just 10 receptions 131 yards & 2 TDs in 11 games.
Nikita has the tools to be a good receiver. He isn’t blazing fast, but he has more than adequate speed. While he isn’t a tall receiver, he is a physical one. He has the ability to go over the middle and make tough catches, and well as use his strength to be a punishing blocker in the rushing game. He has the overall athleticism, demonstrated by winning the state high jump championship in high school. For Nikita is seems to simply be a matter of the light finally coming on and him putting everything together.
: After a somewhat lackluster first 3 years, Matt Caddell used a TD catch in the 2006 Independence Bowl to build momentum for a 2007 season that saw him become Bama’s 2nd leading receiver (40 receptions for 475 yards). Nikita Stover caught a TD pass in the 2007 Independence Bowl that should give him the same opportunity.
His blocking ability should benefit him greatly in Jim McElwain’s offense that loves to run a lot of screens and underneath routes that rely on downfield blocking from the receivers. He should be able to use his explosiveness to go along with his experience to be one of Bama’s early go-to guys.
There won't be much of a margin for error, however, with the influx of talent at the WR position. He'll need to show the consistency expected out of a Senior to continue to get looks throughout the season.
Next up tomorrow: Jimmy Johns