E.A. Sports Today

Kite rides with Tide

Two-way, two-sport Anniston star makes it official signing with Alabama

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

When Antonio Kite first came out to play football for Anniston High, Bulldogs coach Rico White wasn’t convinced this young future stud was serious enough about what it takes to be successful within the constructs of a football team.

He knew Spoodie certainly was athletic enough to play any position on the field, but White wasn’t convinced at the time the player had the maturity to put his playfulness aside to be a part of a team.

Oh, Kite was serious enough and reminded White that he kept his promise to remain so during his signing ceremony Wednesday. 

He was serious enough to draw interest from many of the top programs in the country, even though they’d only seen him play for one season. He was serious enough to spend countless overnight hours watching his YouTube videos to make himself better. Things don’t get much more serious than playing for the Nick Saban at the University of Alabama.

Kite made his Fourth of July commitment to the Tide official Wednesday when he signed with the reigning national champions in front of family and friends in the lobby of the gym where he was to play a basketball game a few hours later.

“I always dreamed of moments like this; the dream came true,” he said. “I’ve been dreaming this since I was a little boy.

“It was just a dream of going somewhere and playing ball, doesn’t matter if it was football or basketball or baseball.”

For the longest time, especially after he arrived back in town from Baltimore, it was thought Kite would make his bones on the basketball court, where the game came “easy” and he is the conduit through which everything the basketball Bulldogs do flows. But he said he played football first.

“I’m a football guy who can play basketball,” he said.

He could be a two-way player for the Tide — defensive back/safety and receiver — but he will not be a two-sport star. He ruled out playing basketball there, even though the Tide wants him to play.

Alabama doesn’t usually dip into Calhoun County for football players. Kite is the county’s first player to sign with the Tide in the sport since quarterback John David Phillips came out of Anniston in the mid-90s. Many of the other top prospects in the county have been spirited away to other SEC schools over the years, just not Alabama.

White called it a “humongous” coup for his program to have a player land at the state’s flagship university.

“In a sense it puts that stamp on the program of what you’re trying to build,” he said. “When you get a team that’s been No. 1 in the nation for years that comes to your program or comes to our small town and says you’ve got a kid we want, it’s humongous.

“I can’t say enough to actually hold a conversation with Nick Saban about your kids. That’s big. We’ve had kids go to different schools, but when you have one that goes to one that stays on the TV 24/7 and one of the most popular coaches in college football, it’s great.”

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