Former Florida quarterback Jalen Kitna has made a decision to revive his football career at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), marking a significant step forward after his recent legal troubles. Kitna’s admission into UAB follows a six-month probation period resulting from a plea deal that led to the dismissal of five felony child pornography charges. In July, he pleaded guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct, both of which were classified as second-degree misdemeanors.
The young athlete, who happens to be the son of retired NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, will have the opportunity to play under the guidance of Trent Dilfer, a former NFL quarterback who is currently the head coach of the UAB Blazers. Expressing his gratitude, Jalen Kitna released a statement saying, “I am grateful for the opportunity to enroll at UAB and be a part of Coach Dilfer’s football program. Moreover, I am deeply appreciative of my parents’ unwavering support and guidance. Rest assured, I am fully committed to exemplifying the qualities of a model citizen and student athlete.”
Trent Dilfer emphasized that UAB and its athletic department conducted thorough due diligence in assessing Kitna’s situation before offering him a place on the team. Jalen Kitna’s journey took a dark turn when he was dismissed from the University of Florida following his arrest on November 30, 2022, on charges related to child pornography. The charges included two counts of distributing child exploitation material and three counts of possessing child pornography.
According to the police in Gainesville, Florida, Kitna was found to have shared two explicit images of young girls being sexually abused via a social media platform. A subsequent search of his phone revealed three additional images of two nude young girls in a shower. These photos had been saved on Kitna’s phone a year earlier, with no age estimation provided in the report.
Dilfer acknowledged the initial impact of the headlines surrounding Kitna’s arrest but emphasized the importance of considering the legal process over time. Kitna, who claims to be in “good standing” with the University of Florida, received offers from other schools but ultimately chose UAB, considering it a perfect fit for his aspirations.
While Jalen Kitna acknowledges the naivety of his past decisions and expresses deep regret, he highlights that the felony charges against him were ultimately dropped. He has taken responsibility for his actions by pleading no-contest to second-degree misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges, demonstrating his commitment to personal growth and learning from his past mistakes.
Mark Ingram, the athletic director at UAB, expressed confidence in Kitna’s commitment to his ongoing personal development, noting his engagement with a comprehensive support system both at home and on campus. As Kitna embarks on this new chapter of his football career, it is hoped that he will seize the opportunity to not only excel on the field but also become a positive role model off the field.
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