Tacony resident Ready to Roll Tide

Chris Barmore parlayed one year of varsity football into a scholarship to Alabama. PHOTO: UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Chris Barmore didn’t have a lot of time to show the recruiting world what he could do.

It didn’t take him long to show them he has what it takes to potentially be one of the best college football players in the country.

Barmore, who was a member of the Abraham Lincoln High School football program as a sophomore and missed all of his junior season campaign when he was at Del Val Charter, became one of the top players in the state this year at Neumann-Goretti.

The massive defensive tackle, who stands 6 feet 5 and weighs about a biscuit shy of 300 pounds, accepted a scholarship offer from University of Alabama, he announced last Wednesday, the first day of college football’s early signing period.

“I was really happy to go there because it had everything I wanted, both athletically and academically,” said Barmore, who lives in Tacony. “Everybody would love to play for coach (Nick) Saban. The school has everything I could ask for, it was a perfect fit. My mom felt the same way.”

Barmore’s rise to becoming one of the top recruits in the country seemingly happened overnight, and a lot of that was because he learned exactly what it would take to become a great player.

He figured it out the hard way when he was a sophomore at Lincoln and he was playing only on the junior varsity team. He knew he had the potential to be great, but he also knew he had to work harder.

“I would see good players and sometimes you just know you could be better than them,” Barmore said. “Coach Troy (Gore, former Del Val coach and current assistant coach at Neumann-Goretti) really made me better because he pushed me so hard. He wanted what’s best for me, but he made me work harder. He has done so much for me, and he made me want to be a better player. He pushed me, but I had to be the one to do it.”

He put in all the work necessary.

Last year, he missed his junior season because of injuries.

When Del Val closed, Barmore followed Gore to Neumann-Goretti, which, according to Barmore, is about an hour to an hour and a half commute from his Tacony home each day.

The long bus rides were worth it. Neumann-Goretti, which folded its team in 2016 due to low numbers, finished 11–1 this year, and the Saints’ only loss was a setback to Southern Columbia in a Class 2A state quarterfinal. Last year, the team didn’t win a game before closing up for the season. The Saints’ incredibly quick turnaround was greatly aided by their influx of talented transfers, but Barmore was quick to point out a lot of it had to do with the work the team put in at practice each day.

“We did really good, I think,” Barmore said. “I was happy that I could play for a great team. Everyone worked really hard. And I’m happy I could play for coach Troy. He’s done so much for me, I was glad I was able to play with him this year. He’s the reason a lot of these things happened. But the whole team was good, I loved playing there.”

Almost as much as he’s looking forward to playing in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama has been one of the best college football program in recent years.

Since 2009, the Crimson Tide have won four national championships, and this year they’ll be looking to add №5. Alabama meets Clemson in a semifinal, with the winner going on to play for the national championship.

That’s exactly why Barmore selected Alabama. His other suitors included Florida, Georgia, Baylor, Miami, South Carolina and Tennessee. Also in the mix was Temple, which offered Barmore earlier in the year.

But Alabama has everything Barmore was looking for.

He plans on majoring in communications, and while he definitely wants to take advantage of the opportunity to get a college education, he hopes his future is in football.

“I wasn’t too sure what I was going to study, but I’m definitely thinking about communications,” Barmore said. “But the goal is to play in the (NFL). I know that if I keep working, when you play at Alabama, you’re going to get chances. I want to get my chance.”

And now he can enjoy the rest of his senior year while preparing for college.

He’s already working on his warcry.

“I’m telling everyone, ‘Roll Tide!’ We’re all saying it,” Barmore said. “My mom is excited, my grandparents, coach Troy, and I’m excited, too. This is a great opportunity. I’m happy I’m getting it. I’m going to work really hard. I’m glad it’s done and I can worry about doing well in school and working on getting better.” ••