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The Saban Top 100: No. 19 Chance Warmack

The Saban Top 100: No. 19 Chance Warmack

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The Saban Top 100: No. 19 Chance Warmack

BamaCentral is ranking the top 100 players of the Nick Saban era at Alabama over the course of the 2020 football season

19] Chance Warmack, G

  • 2012 Unanimous All-American
  • 2012 All-SEC
  • 10th-overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft
  • Was the first guard selected in the top-10 of an NFL draft since Chris Naeole in 1997
  • Team captain

It’s not surprising that most Alabama football players have some sort of ritual after games, especially after the Crimson Tide notches another victory.

Many like to be social, while others spend time with their families or relax and simply keep to themselves. Offensive linemen D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack had their own unique way of celebrating, the kind that could make local restaurant workers freak.

“After a big game they like to eat a lot, I’ll just say that,” Barrett Jones said during the 2012 season. “They’re both like the real fat kids of the line. They really enjoy a good, like, we’re talking not a big meal, a feast, something I’m not capable of.

“I saw Chance one time take down a whole Mugshots burger. I was just miserable. Why would you ever want to do that? Not a Mugshots burger, THE Mugshot, the big one.”

For those who haven’t seen it, much less attempt it, the menu at Mugshots Grill & Bar describes the “monster” as “three seasoned patties piled high with six strips of bacon, cheddar and Swiss cheese, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and red onion served with Brew City’s beer battered fries, an onion ring, and a hand-battered pickle.” It’s free to anyone who can finish the whole thing in 12 minutes or less, but otherwise costs $20 and lot of heartburn.

“It’s impossible,” Jones said. “You can’t even finish the bread in that time. There’s so much bread, and the fries. There’s just no way.”

Defying the odds, though, is something that Fluker and Warmack did over the years, leading to both hitting it big in the NFL Draft.

Even though Fluker was still a junior in terms of eligibility, 6-foot-6, 335-pound proven tackles were worth their weight in … something more valuable than gold.

But Warmack, who arrived on the Capstone at the age of 17, was poised to do something rare in the draft: Be a highly-coveted guard. Not too many were considered worthy of a first-round selection, but when the reigning Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s top interior lineman, Jones, claimed Warmack may be the best player on Alabama’s stellar offensive line it was probably not wise to doubt him.

Both were tabbed as preseason All-Americans by various outlets, and while the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Warmack had proven to be a rock during his 26 starts before his senior year, Fluker’s size was only exceeded by his determination.

“D.J. is one of the most physical players we've ever had here or anywhere,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “He reminds me of Flozell Adams at Michigan State, way back when. He's big, he's physical, he works hard, he gets movement. “

The 6-7, 340-pound Adams was named the 1997 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and a semifinalist for both the Outland and Lombardi awards. He was a second-round draft pick, No. 38 overall, by the Dallas Cowboys in 1998.

“He's really improved his quickness and his ability to pass-block,” Saban continued. “He's physical, and I think the biggest difference is he's very confident in what he's doing now. He's much more outgoing in terms of his willingness to affect other people. He has really affected our offense in a positive way not only with his performance but his enthusiasm, attention to detail and intensity. The way he goes about things and demands that people do it the same way. That's something that when he came here, I never thought would happen but it certainly has and it's a real positive for us.”

During fall camp, Fluker was arguably as vocal as anyone on the team, which was a real change from a year or two previous, and even during the season opener against Michigan was repeatedly seen jumping up and down trying to get his teammates riled up. While that wasn’t necessarily the style of some players, like the more cerebral Jones (“I find if I get emotional I make more mistakes,” he said), it worked for the big right tackle from Foley, Ala.

“D.J. is never out-matched in intensity,” tight end Michael Williams said.

That kind of passion could be contagious … especially from someone wearing size 22 shoes and screaming at the top of his lungs. In comparison, something like nose guard Jesse Williams with his Mohawk and tattoos might be easier to ignore.

“I mean, I’ve always had it, I just didn’t know when my time would come, like, to step up and say, ‘Hey guys, let’s get together,’ know when to lead, because we already had leaders like Rolando McClain, Barrett Jones, (William Vlachos),” Fluker said. “But now that I see the opportunity to get it, why not take advantage of it? Coach always says to take advantage of the opportunities that are given to you, and he always tells us anybody can lead a team. I take that to heed. He’s right.”

Perhaps it’s only natural that they became good friends. Warmack referred to Fluker as his “brother,” and they were together off the field almost as much as when wearing the crimson and white. One of their favorite endeavors was to play the NCAA Football video game at Fluker’s apartment, where Warmack said his teammate usually lets him score a few times before treating him like an opposing linebacker.

“I’m horrible at NCAA, my little brother beats me at it,” Warmack said, adding that Fluker had an “extra-large, extra-thick couch” that could accommodate both of them.

“If I could write a book on D.J., it would be like 12 volumes. He’s a hard worker and a nice guy. He doesn’t hesitate to help anybody. He’ll help anybody even if he doesn’t know them, and I owe him a lot. He helps me a lot. He helps me to be a better person. He’s a really nice person.”

Not surprisingly, they sort of took sophomore left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio under their massive wings, but the whole pack was pretty close despite the five starters being about as different as can be. For example, while Jones said Anthony Steen was “real country,” the junior right guard claims that his bookish center was a city guy.

“Every day, Barrett’s always arguing about something to coach,” Steen said. “He thinks he knows what to do, and coach knows the right way to block. He’s just always arguing to the team. Most of the time, me and D.J. are just sitting there listening to him argue, and we shake our heads.”

“It’s just a funny kind of mix of people,” Jones said. “It’s something I really enjoy being a part of.”

Regardless, they were a fearsome bunch to face on the field, especially the two tight friends who when not making pancake blocks might be eating a few and sharing a few laughs at a local establishment.

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“Krispy Kreme or something like that,” Steen suggested about the donut franchise that had just re-opened its Tuscaloosa store that was destroyed by an April 27, 2011 tornado.

“They went. Trust me.”


The Saban Top 100 will be revealed over the course of the 2020 football season, with the top players unveiled one a day as part of BamaCentral's 25 Days of Christmas celebration.

The series thus far:

Introduction

No. 20: Mark Barron 

No. 21: Jonah Williams

No. 22: Da'Ron Payne

No. 23: Ryan Kelly

No. 24: Landon Collins

No. 25: Cam Robinson

26-30: Terrence Cody, Calvin Ridley, Javier Arenas, Reggie Ragland, Jedrick Wills Jr.

31-35: Dee Milliner, D.J. Fluker, Marlon Humphrey, Rashad Evans, A'Shawn Robinson

36-40: Rashaan Evans, Dre Kirkpatrick, Marcell Dareus, Eddie Jackson, O.J. Howard

41-45: Courtney Upshaw, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Henry Ruggs III, Jarran Reed, Xavier McKinney

46-50: Dalvin Tomlinson, Antoine Caldwell, Kareem Jackson, Cyrus Kouandjio, Trevon Diggs

51-55: Mike Johnson, T.J. Yeldon, Ronnie Harrison, Damien Harris, JK Scott

56-60: Ross Pierschbacher, Eddie Lacy, Bradley Bozeman, Ryan Anderson, Glen Coffee

61-65: Greg McElroy, Josh Jacobs, Anfernee Jennings, James Carpenter, Kenyan Drake

66-70: Terrell Lewis, Blake Sims, Christian Miller, Irv Smith Jr,, Tim Williams

71-75: Mack Wilson, ArDarius Stewart, Deionte Thompson, Raekwon Davis, Jalston Fowler

76-80: Josh Chapman, Cyrus Jones, Kevin Norwood, Isaiah Buggs, Jake Coker

81-85: Bo Scarbrough, Anthony Averett, Leigh Tiffin, Ed Stinson, DeQuan Menzie

86-90: Jesse Williams, Shaun Dion Hamilton, William Vlachos, Da'Shawn Hand, Arie Kouandjio

91-95: Nico Johnson, Wallace Gilberry, DJ Hall, Vinnie Sunseri, Quinton Dial

96-100: Trey DePriest, Damion Square, Christion Jones, John Parker Wilson, Simeon Castille 

19] Chance Warmack, G

  • 2012 Unanimous All-American
  • 2012 All-SEC
  • 10th-overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft
  • Was the first guard selected in the top-10 of an NFL draft since Chris Naeole in 1997
  • Team captain
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