This is my story for today’s print edition. It’s about Alabama nose guard Josh Chapman. Enjoy.
TUSCALOOSA — Walking through the door as an eighth-grader, Josh Chapman had something special. Hoover High coach Rush Propst never doubted it.
It was just a matter of finding the right place for the still-growing rising talent. Soon, his size, speed and brute power made him a can’t-miss defensive lineman.
More growth. More strength. More of everything eventually made him a hot commodity for the two SEC schools in the state.
Now Chapman, standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 310 pounds, is one game from putting a bow on his five years at Alabama. That raw young talent who stepped into the suburban Birmingham football machine is on the verge of a pro career. He’s the anchor of statistically the best defense in the country and arguably one of the best in Alabama history.
But entering his Jan. 9 Alabama curtain call in the BCS title game, Chapman isn’t the decorated centerpiece of this decorated defense. His job is to clog the middle and eat up blockers, allowing the All-America linebackers behind him to feast on the opposing backfield.
“He’s not going to woo you in stats with a lot of sacks and all that,” said Propst, now the coach at Colquitt County High in Georgia. “That’s not what he does. He’s a gap-control, big, strong defensive lineman who holds the point in their defense. And I think it has a lot to do with the success of what they’re doing. Obviously, he has to play well.”
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