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A Salute to the 2019 Alabama Seniors: The versatile Matt Womack will be missed

Sometimes life just isn’t fair

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to believe that Matt Womack has been on campus for five years. Along the way, his career has taken various turns and gone in many unexpected directions.

It even began with his recruitment, when the four-star tackle committed to the LSU Tigers. From Hernando (MS), Womack held several SEC offers — including “hometown” Ole Miss — and had even signed an aid letter with Les Miles’ team. However, those are non-binding on the players, and he never signed an NLI. He eventually committed to Mario Cristobal’s unit with the Crimson Tide.

Womack came onto campus as a promising-but-raw player. He redshirted his first year on campus (2015), before seeing action the following season. While Womack did not start any games in 2016, he made nine appearances for the Tide that season. 2017 would be the year he exploded onto the scene and made an impact on the starting lineup.

As a redshirt sophomore, Womack earned a starting spot at right tackle in a very competitive fall and spring camp. Almost immediately, he shone. Womack was one of the Tide’s more disciplined linemen that season too — frequently grading out above 90%, while not allowing a sack, pressure, or taking a penalty. He was named the SEC’s offensive lineman of the week in just his second start, versus Fresno State. And Matt’s right side of the line was almost automatic in the running game.

It seemed as though 2018 would again be a very competitive camp for the RS Junior. The Tide had rising sophomores in Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills vying for time on the outside. Combined with Deonte Brown, Lester Cotton, Jonah Williams, Ross Pierschbacher, Chris Owens, and Joshua Casher, there were only five spots for a group that went legitimately two-deep at most spots. Most of these players could, and would, start on nearly any line in the country.

But, that was when Matt’s life took another hairpin turn. In March, just weeks before the A-Day game, Womack broke his foot. It was a nagging injury that would affect him all season. After missing the season’s first four games with the injury, the damage had been done: Womack had lost his starting position in a very deep, very competitive field of studs. Nevertheless, he played in seven games for the Tide that year as a reserve. And, this season was much the same: Womack played on both the outside and the inside, even earning a start at right guard. In 2019 he saw action in seven more games.

Despite not seeing many starts in his last two years, and suffering through injuries that seemed to derail a promising career, Womack’s Senior Bowl showed that he is finally fully healthy, still has explosion off the ball, and, of course, has some of the strongest hands you’ll see at the position.

For his size, the 6’7” 330 pounder is fairly agile. but if there were any one thing you’d say is his strength, it is that he is an absolute mauler. While Womack does not have the quickest lateral motion, he has a great wingspan and uses that leverage well. He is one of the stronger ‘Bama offensive linemen at the point of attack. And his hands are excellent. When he puts his mitts on defenders, they go backwards or are harmlessly ran out of the play. For that reason, many see his skills projecting better on the interior of the line, where he can readily play the guard position — with some even projecting Womack to go in the mid-to-late rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Womack finishes his career with 15 total starts at two positions. He was part of the starting lineup for the Tide’s national title team against the Georgia Bulldogs, and is a member of two SEC Champion teams. He was part of three Joe Moore award finalist lines and was a member of Alabama’s 2019 AFCA Academic All-American team.

Matt Womack is perhaps the victim of the wrong time, but the right place. But, you’ll never hear him describe himself that way. Womack could have left the Capstone for several other programs and been a productive starter. But, he nevertheless stuck out his commitment to Alabama and has been an invaluable four-year player as a starter and as a reserve. Those are the types of players you need to win championships. Like many offensive linemen, Matt doesn’t get nearly enough press, but I have always enjoyed watching his play; I have enjoyed his vocal, supportive father; and it is these players with his type of work ethic and character that make Alabama great.

Best of luck no matter where you land in life, Matt.

Roll Tide.