When Christian Barmore's recruiting stock as a defensive lineman began to gradually rise in early summer, he orally committed to Temple.
In the fall, when the 6-foot-5, 297-pound senior hit the field for Neumann-Goretti and began showing that he was wrecking machine, the likes of Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Georgia, and LSU, among others, came calling.
On Wednesday, the first day of college football's early signing period, Barmore announced his decision to commit to top-ranked Alabama.
The defensive tackle, a four-star recruit and the No. 188 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 according to 247Sports.com, was in Tuscaloosa the weekend of Dec. 8.
"When he visited Alabama, he fell in love with it," Neumann-Goretti head coach Albie Crosby said. "He felt that it was the best place for him. Him and his mother loved everything the school had to offer."
Crimson Tide boss Nick Saban and defensive line coach Karl Dunbar followed that by visiting Barmore at his home and Neumann-Goretti.
"Coach Saban was very direct," Crosby said. "He told Christian, 'You'll come to Alabama and get a chance to play. But more than that, you'll be given the opportunity to be the best player and person you can be.' "
As a defensive tackle, Barmore helped the Saints go 11-1, win the Catholic League Blue Division championship, earn the PIAA District 1-12 Class 2A subregional title, and advance to the state quarterfinals before losing to District 4's Southern Columbia.
The Northeast Philly resident made stops at Lincoln and the since-closed Del-Val Charter before coming to Neumann-Goretti before this school year. This was his first season playing at the varsity level.
"Our defensive line coach (Ron Holmes) and defensive coordinator (Dwayne Thomas) put a lot of time in to help him develop his talents," Crosby said.
Crosby said Barmore, an all-state selection who took official visits to Alabama and Baylor, became close with Temple defensive coordinator Taver Johnson and did not easily cross the Owls off his list.
"It was quite a tough decision for Christian," he said. "Temple was still in the mix until near the end. But having the opportunity to play at Alabama and for coach Saban is something he couldn't turn down."