Local high school grad walks on at Alabama, will graduate with 3 championship rings

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Midway High School graduate who won a national championship with the Alabama football team in January finally got to celebrate with him teammates and family from Central Texas at an event over the weekend that was delayed because of COVID-19 concerns.

Matthew Barnhill graduated from Midway in 2018.

He walked on as a linebacker at Alabama.

“This past weekend the Alabama football team held a celebration of the 2020 National Championship team following the team’s spring game,” Barnhill told KWTX.

“Standing with my old teammates and watching our championship flag being raised over Bryant-Denny was an incredible feeling of group accomplishment and I felt the ultimate totality of winning a championship.”

Matthew Barnhill with his grandparents, Roberta and Mike Robinson.
Matthew Barnhill with his grandparents, Roberta and Mike Robinson.(Courtesy photo)

Barnhill’s parents, Elizabeth, who was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the university is, and Bryon, who has two post graduate degrees from Alabama, along with his grandparents, Roberta and Mike Robinson, who taught at Alabama and also graduated from there in 1971, traveled from Waco to Tuscaloosa for the weekend.

Matthew’s brother Thomas is a freshman at Alabama and took part in the festivities, too.

The weekend started with an annual Walk of Champions tradition as the current team arrived at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday for their annual spring game.

Barnhill’s championship came in his senior season.

He’s poised to graduate later this year.

The family attended the spring game where Matthew watched on with other former players from the sideline.

After the game, the 2020 captains raised a championship flag at the stadium while Coach Nick Saban addressed Barnhill and his teammates, stating it was greatest team effort he’d ever been a part of as the team went undefeated in a challenging year.

Normally the university holds a parade following a championship, but that was also canceled because of COVID, leaving Barnhill’s parents thrilled that a delayed celebration still took place.

“We were thrilled the university chose to do a celebration after the spring football game,” Elizabeth said.

“We are so happy knowing that Matthew will carry the memory of being on this special team for the rest of his life.”

Monday night, in an event with only team members and staff, Barnhill was presented with a token to ensure he never forgets; three championship rings.

The Waco native earned a College Football playoff ring, an SEC Championship ring, and the official school National Championship ring.

“I had been waiting on pins and needles since the clock hit zero in Miami and seeing the rings for the first time shattered all of my expectations and proved to be well worth the wait,” Barnhill said.

“These rings will serve not only as a permanent reminder of the high level of success this team was able to achieve but also as a physical representation of every hour spent training, practicing, and all the hard work put in behind the scenes to make our run at a championship a reality.”

Barnhill will graduate in the fall after only three years.

He plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career as an investment banker.

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