Back in July at SEC Media Days, a throng of reporters surrounded Alabama center Barrett Jones. The reigning Outland Trophy winner was Mr. Popular following the Crimson Tide's second national championship in three years. As he fielded questions about his move from left tackle to center and this year's team, he was eventually asked who was Alabama's most athletic offensive lineman.
Without hesitation, Jones answered, "Chance Warmack."
If anyone was surprised by that answer, the Tide's left guard has presumably changed those minds four weeks into the season.
Warmack, a senior, throws around blocks, dominates the line of scrimmage and gets into the second level of the defense like it's nobody's business. And at his size—6-3, 320—no wonder his draft stock rises every week.
"Physically, he's really strong and powerful," said Alabama coach Nick Saban. "He has a lot of natural lower body explosion and natural power, and certainly uses it, knows how to get his second step on the ground so he can create power and balance and body control. He's a really, really good player."
National recognition is new for Warmack, despite this being his third year starting. After being named honorable mention to just one All-American list last year, he's on the Lombardi and Outland trophy watch lists this year.
"He's been overlooked for a long time," Saban said. "I think people are starting to realize that he's probably one of the best players at his position in the country."
Running back Eddie Lacy, who's rushed for 232 yards and four touchdowns so far this season, calls Warmack his hero.
"I like running behind him when he pulls," he said. "It's like a freight train. You know, no matter how many people are in the way when he's getting there, he's going to knock them out of the way. It's a sense of security knowing he's in front of you.
"I'm glad we've got him on our side."
Warmack pays the praise and national attention no mind. Asked his thoughts on what draft analysts have been saying about him and Warmack will tell you he hasn't even checked up on that.
"I don't pay attention too much to the media," he said. "I just try to stay grounded and stay focused with my teammates."
And also on simply just trying to get better everyday.
"I just always soak up information," he said. "I'm like a sponge."
And Jones can tell. He said he's seen Warmack make a huge jump this year from a knowledge standpoint.
"When he was first here, he was kind of just memorizing what he had to do and learning his assignments," he said. "Now he's really starting to grasp and conceptualize what the whole offensive line is starting to do, and that allows you just to play fast and play really hard.
"He's really just taken the next step this year, and I knew he would. He's really become a leader and help me make calls and help me see things."
Jones was then asked what makes a good guard.
"Look at Chance," he said. "That's about what you need."
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