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Ex-Gators QB Jalen Kitna headed to UAB after serving probation

He pleaded guilty to 2 counts of disorderly conduct
Florida Gators QB Jalen Kitna warms up before game, Oct. 2, 2022
Posted at 4:31 PM, Dec 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-30 16:42:59-05

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Former Florida quarterback Jalen Kitna is heading to UAB in an attempt to resurrect his football career.

Kitna has been admitted to the school in Birmingham after serving six months of probation as part of a plea deal that included the dismissal of five felony child pornography charges. Kitna received six months of probation in July after pleading guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct, second-degree misdemeanors.

Kitna, the son of retired NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, is set to play for former NFL quarterback and current Blazers coach Trent Dilfer.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to enroll at UAB and be a part of Coach Dilfer's football program," Kitna said in a statement. "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."

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Dilfer said UAB and the athletic department "have performed extensive due diligence" on Kitna. Florida dismissed Kitna after his arrest on Nov. 30, 2022, on five felony child pornography charges — two counts of distribution of child exploitation material and three counts of possession of child pornography.

Police in Gainesville said Kitna shared two images of young girls being sexually abused via a social media platform. Officers later searched his phone and found three more images of two nude young girls in a shower — photos that had been saved to Kitna's phone a year earlier. The report did not estimate the ages of the girls.

"Initial headlines can be hard to get past, even if they don't hold up to the scrutiny of the legal process over time," Dilfer said.

Kitna said he is in "good standing" with Florida and received offers to play for other schools as well, describing UAB as a "perfect fit for me."

"While the initial headlines surrounding my arrest painted an inaccurate picture of my actions, it is important to note that the felony charges against me were ultimately dropped," Kitna said. "I acknowledge that I made naive decisions that I deeply regret and have since learned from. As a result, I took responsibility by pleading no-contest to second-degree misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges related to those decisions."

UAB athletic director Mark Ingram said Kitna "has committed to continued engagement with a robust support system at home and on campus."