March 21, 2012

Freshman has AU's attention

As Pelham High's starting catcher whose batting average hasn't slipped below .400 all season, Hunter Stovall and the Panthers are the No. 1 team in Alabama 6A baseball.

As a quarterback, Stovall passed for 1,425 yards and rushed for 1,040 more and helped the Panthers go 5-5 that season.

What may come as a surprise is that the dual-sport talent compiled those stats at the ripe old age of… 15.

Stovall is proving that age doesn't matter as he is among the top athletes in both sports as a freshman.

His talent hasn't gone unnoticed by those at the next level as he is already receiving interest from colleges. The first one to contact him in regards to football is Auburn University.

A lifelong Tiger fan, Stovall said he was thrilled when the orange and blue letter arrived in the mail.

"It was a special moment," Stovall said. "I was so excited that Auburn is interested. It was kind of a shock. I didn't know what to think. I love Auburn, always have."

Although Stovall hasn't spoken personally with an Auburn coach yet, he has been invited to an Auburn football camp this summer.

It won't be his first trip to the Plains since he has been cheering on the Tigers in Jordan-Hare Stadium since he was a toddler. Stovall's last time on campus was last summer when he attended a baseball camp.

Stovall has been a quarterback since he began playing football, and he doesn't foresee changing positions anytime soon. Pelham High switched from a spread offense to a triple-option offense when he became the starter, which is something he wasn't excited about.

"I like the spread a lot more," Stovall said.

Regardless of his preference, Stovall said he is willing to learn any type of offense and that he has qualities that make him an asset.

"If I'm under pressure, I can tuck and run," Stovall said. "I can hit receivers downfield-that hasn't been a problem. I can read pretty good, too."

Pelham High baseball has about a month remaining in its regular-season schedule. However, spring football will be starting up before the season ends. Although he'll be busy, Stovall is confident that he will be able to balance both sports.

"I don't think it will be a problem," Stovall said. Ideally, Stovall said he'd like to play both football and baseball in college.

As of March 21, the Panthers are 21-1 overall with the sole loss of the season coming at the hand of Rogers Heritage, the No. 1 team from Arkansas.

Once spring football moves underway, Stovall said there are a few aspects of his game that need improvement before the season begins in August.

"I'm going to be working on reading and becoming a better leader throughout the team," Stovall said.

At approximately 5-foot-10, 160 pounds now, Stovall is expected to grow by the time he graduates in 2015.

His father, Eric, said he wouldn't be surprised if his son reaches at least 6-1 in the upcoming years.

"My nephew, Tyler Stovall, who was drafted by the Atlanta Braves out of high school is 6-1, 6-2," Eric Stovall said. "I would think Hunter would be about that tall too."

Although Hunter has three years of recruiting ahead of him, at this point, he knows where he would like to go to college if the school offers him a scholarship.

"It's been my dream to play football at Auburn since I can remember," Stovall said.



 

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