Christian Barmore is the top-ranked defensive lineman on many scouts’ lists approaching the 2012 NFL Draft this week. And he’s only been playing football for all of five years.
Sounds a lot like a certain center that plays for the NBA team in these parts.
Barmore, like Sixers center Joel Embiid with basketball, got started on football fairly late. He was attending Del Val Charter and playing for the basketball team – at 6-foot-6 and a few cheesesteaks shy of 300 pounds – when football coach Troy Gore brought him in.
“I see how big the kid was, and I said, ‘Man, you gotta play football,’” Gore recalled to NBC10. “Come to find out, at the first practice, he was just dominating everybody on the field!”
When Del Val Charter closed its doors following the 2016 season, Barmore went to Neumann-Goretti High School. Gore shuttled him to several camps to sharpen his skills, but what really helped him was another tie-in with Embiid.
As Embiid built his basketball skills in his younger days, he watched YouTube highlight videos of Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon to learn his moves. Barmore? He hopped on YouTube to study one of the best defensive lineman to ever do it on a football field.
“I looked up Reggie White,” Barmore told NBC10. “These players now, I know them good, but [back then] I wasn’t really a football guy. I looked up Reggie White because he was from Philly. I didn’t know until later, who he was, like a legend.”
“I used to watch him, tried to study all his moves… that’s the guy who really made me who I am today. I didn’t get taught the game until late. I was watching all the moves he was doing, took it in, and tried everything out.”
“I know the hump move, every kind of move, the bull rush, all of that. I did my own game with it, but I took some of his moves and I studied what he was doing.”
Based on those two years of football, and thanks in large part to the Minister of Defense, Barmore began to get serious looks from FBS schools.
Alabama’s Nick Saban made a great first impression, and Barmore decommitted from Temple and signed with Alabama, playing two seasons in Tuscaloosa, even earning Defensive MVP honors in the Crimson Tide’s National Championship Game win over Ohio State in January.
Now, five years after playing his first football game, Barmore is going to hear his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, possibly as early as Thursday night.
You can see more of Barmore's story Thursday at 5:00pm as part of NBC10's weeklong Draft Dreams Series. And tune in Thursday at 7:00pm to NBC10 for their hour-long NFL Draft special, "Eagles Draft Day."