Like many others who saw him up close, Griff Redmill was frequently amazed by the performance of teammate Chris Samuels, co-captain of Alabama’s 1999 SEC Championship team.
“Chris was such a dominant player,“ recalled Redmill, who played alongside the All-America Samuels on the Alabama offensive line during the Mike DuBose era. “If you watched him for two or three plays, you couldn’t help being impressed with the way he exploded off the ball and dominated whoever was in front of him.“
Redmill has watched with admiration as Barrett Jones has emerged as the program’s next great offensive lineman. Jones, a 6-foot-5, 302-pound senior from Germantown, Tenn., captured the Outland Trophy and consensus All-America honors last season, displaying his versatility by playing four different positions.
“The general fan doesn’t realize how those positions require different skill sets and have a lot of different assignments and difficulties,“ Redmill said. “It’s a testament to Barrett’s knowledge of the game that he’s been able to transition so easily.“
Jones’ path-clearing played a big role in Alabama’s 2011 national championship, especially the big year experienced by Heisman Trophy finalist Trent Richardson, who rushed for an SEC-best 1,583 yards. If Alabama wins a second straight national championship in 2012, Jones’ high-grading play will be one of the main reasons.
But he’s a different sort of lineman than Samuels.
“There are some guys on that offensive line who are more athletically gifted than Barrett,“ Redmill observed. “He’s not a guy who stands out as especially dominant like Chris Samuels. But [the other linemen] haven’t been able to match Barrett’s level of play, and that’s because of his intelligence, which is so far above anybody else that I’ve ever played with or seen play.“
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