University of Kentucky Wildcats
Madison Central High School
Oceanside High School
Imagine how National Basketball Association point guards would feel if they were being defended by a 330-pound guard. That is what might have happened if Warford had concentrated on his “first sports love” when he was a high school basketball player in the San Diego area before moving to Kentucky as a junior. His father had retired from the U.S. Navy and the family would move back to Richmond, where the son would emerge as one of the elite guards in the prep ranks – only this time, it was on the gridiron and not on the hardwood court.
Seven years after first stepping on to the football field, Warford is about to take the next step which has been a rapid ascension for his career, suiting up for a National Football League team in 2013. Considered one of the best interior blockers in the 2013 draft class, Warford was born in San Diego, California during his father’s time in the military.
Of Samoan descent, Warford lived briefly in Richmond, Kentucky during his junior high years before moving back to California, where he was actually a very good basketball player. When the family returned to Richmond prior to his junior season, he changed his focus to football at Madison Central High School, where he would earn All-State honors in just his second season as a football player.
Before he became the head coach at Garrard County High, Mark Scenters was the offensive line coach at Madison Central and had the opportunity to coach Warford for two years. The coach fondly recalls the first time he happened to see the then 300-pound 16-year-old. “Coach Kenny Turner asked me to come with him to meet a young man that was transferring in from San Diego. His father was retiring from the Navy and they were moving home to Richmond.”
“I’m not sure either of us new what to expect but we walked in and shook hands with his father, and then Larry stood up to shake hands. Coach Turner and I kind of looked at each other and without words said, ‘Thank you God.’”
What the coaches soon realized was that while lacking experience on the football field, Warford was that “once in a blue moon” player with a tremendous work ethic. “From the first day I saw him work out, he was a hard worker,” Scenters recalls. “I think he really wanted to prove himself early on and through football he had an immediate avenue to fit in at the school. Then the drive seemed to move more towards really making the most of his ability. He wanted to be the best, as a team and an individual.”
The staff knew that they had a special player in Warford and none are surprised anymore with the tremendous success he has had at Kentucky, despite playing for a team that has had few bright spots in recent years. “I will say that I was a little surprised at how quickly he started to work his way into the rotation just because the jump for an offensive lineman is such a dramatic one,” the coach stated. “But I felt pretty certain that with Larry’s desire and work ethic, coupled with that God given size and agility, he would be just fine at UK.”
Even the Kentucky coaches were impressed with the player, as Warford would become the first player to sign from their 2009 recruiting class. They saw a player who has a great ability to move for a young man of his size. His center of gravity is low, but it is his great arm length which makes him such a devastating blocker. Thanks to his basketball days, he proved to be very versatile and flexible for a 300-plus pound player. He can pull, work in tight spots or in space, has the strength to work north and south and the agility to work laterally.
Warford has a squat frame with impressive lower body thickness, long arms with large hands, good bubble, broad shoulders, good chest muscle development, thick thighs and calves. He has the functional hip snap and enough flexibility to sink his pads and run fluidly off the line of scrimmage, along with the “heavy feet” to anchor vs. the bull rush.
Despite weighing over 340 pounds during his senior season at Kentucky, Warford has quick, nimble feet with good balance and body control playing in the trenches. He moves well going forward off the snap and does a nice job of using his frame to pinch the defenders back inside. When he stays low in his pads, he can fire low off the snap with good explosion to gain instant advantage.
While not explosive, Warford is rarely late off the line and is quick to make contact and impact the defender. With those long arms and strong hands, he is very good at gaining advantage on a defender when he flashes suddenness coming off the ball. With a good get-off and proper hand technique, it should put him in the right place to make the block most of the time.
As a drive blocker, Warford uses his body to root out the defender and he can move the pile and drive block with leverage. He has a good get-off coming out of his stance and his quick feet will put him in position to make the in-line block. He shows good body control rolling his hips and drives with his legs to flash a line surge. When pulling in-line, he knows how to attack the shoulders of a defender. When he rolls his hips, he has good success in gaining movement.
Warford keeps his head on a swivel when retreating in pass protection. He shows good urgency moving underneath to cut down the backside pursuit and has the lower body strength and long arms to engulf smaller defenders and stymie the bull rush. He moves his feet well to shield and wall off the interior defender in pass protection and works well on combo blocks, as a does a very good job in handling multiple defenders. When he anchors firmly, he can slide and find ways to adjust to the action in front of him.
Prior to joining the Kentucky program, where his cousin, Paul Warford (2006-09) was a standout cornerback for the Wildcats, Warford first attended Oceanside (Cal.) High School, where he lettered twice as a guard/forward for the basketball team. As a sophomore, he was first introduced to organized football, earning a starting job at offensive tackle in 2006.
The family’s move back to Kentucky saw Warford star for two seasons at Madison Central High School, where the offensive guard earned second-team All-State honors from the Associated Press as a junior and first-team All-State accolades from the AP and Louisville Courier-Journal as a senior. He was regarded as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, as that recruiting service listed 30th among the nation’s elite guard prospects.
Warford was named to the Lexington Herald-Leader “Class of the Commonwealth” listing of the top-22 seniors in Kentucky and was a two-time All-Region and All-District honoree.
He helped Madison County to a 9-3 record his senior year, going to the second round of the state playoffs. Super Prep placed him fifth among all the prospects in the state of Kentucky. He concluded his prep career by playing in the Kentucky East-West All-Star Game.
When Warford became the first verbal commitment for Kentucky’s 2009 recruiting class, Madison County head coach Kenny Turner noted, “Larry is a very powerful blocker at the point of attack. He has size, speed and agility. He has excellent feet and gets downfield to make blocks. He’s also an intelligent player with good football instincts.”
Until his cousin moved back to Richmond, Paul Warford really didn’t know Larry Warford all that well. However, the former Kentucky cornerback knows plenty about his younger cousin now and is glad that Warford committed to sign with the Wildcats. “He is pretty shy to be so big,” Paul Warford said of his then 320-pound cousin. “He is a funny guy when he gets around family or gets comfortable with you. Basically, he is just a big kid. There is not a mean bone in his body. I am sure if you get him mad enough, he can be mean. But, just playing around, no, he is just a big teddy bear.”
Was Paul surprised when his cousin announced his intentions to play at Kentucky? “It did not surprise me at all. I had been talking to him and he said he wanted to go here. I knew before most people, including his Dad, that he was going to come here,” Warford said.
Four years later, the cousin was asked to look back at Larry’s four seasons at the university. “He was a great fit. He is way more mature than he should be as far as his footwork and everything. I think he will do fine here,” Paul Warford said. “He is 6-4, 320 and he is strong, too. I don’t think he realizes how strong he is. Sometimes we will be wrestling around and he will just throw us around. He can toss me around and handle me pretty well, and I am not that weak. He’s a big, strong kid — the kind you have to have to win in the SEC.”
Warford played mostly in reserve during his first season at Kentucky, lining up with the second unit while making ten appearances in 2009. His performances late in games so impressed the league’s coaches, he was named by them to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team. There was one piece of “unfinished business” the 349-pound guard needed to do before his sophomore season – lose weight and increase his stamina.
Warford reported back to school in August, 2010 trimming down to 329 pounds. With less girth, he was able to sink his pads better and fire off the line of scrimmage quicker. He started every game at right guard, leading the team with 43 knockdowns and ten touch-down resulting blocks during a 6-7 campaign. The Wildcats used his pass protection skills to rank second in the league and 24th in the nation in passing, averaging 269.31 yards per game. The sophomore would earn All-SEC second-team honors for his performance.
As a junior, Warford was again dominating at right guard. He led all the league’s interior blockers with an 87.5% grade for blocking consistency, as he produced 34 knockdowns along with thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks, a remarkable total, considering that the Wildcats found the end zone only 22 times in 2011. The front wall allowed 35 sacks, but only one was charged to Warford. Despite finishing 5-7, the Wildcats ranked 118th among 120 major colleges in total offense (259.75 ypg).
Warford played at 343 pounds during his senior season, but the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award watch list member would earn All-American honors. Strangely, the league’s coaches only awarded him second-team All-SEC recognition, despite again leading all the league’s interior linemen with a 90.3% grade. He delivered 48 knockdowns with thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks and did not allow any sacks.
Warford received high praise throughout the season from the Kentucky coaching staff for playing with amazing skill up front. He would close out his career starting 37-of-47 games that he appeared in, as UK rushers averaged 4.9 yards per carry behind the senior right guard, but only 2.9 yards behind the rest of the Wildcats’ front wall.
Warford started 37-of-47 games at Kentucky, earning All-Southeastern Conference accolades during all four seasons playing for the Wildcats…In three seasons as the starting right guard, he led the SEC interior blockers with an 88.47% grade for blocking consistency, as he registered 36 touchdown-resulting blocks and 125 knockdowns.
Warford received All-American second-team and All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, as the watch list member for both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award is rated the third-best offensive guard in the collegiate ranks by that scouting information service…Despite leading all of the league’s interior linemen with a 90.3% grade for blocking consistency, the conference coaches only named him to the All-SEC second-team unit…Started all twelve games at right guard, pacing the Wildcats with 48 knockdowns and thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks, as he did not allow a sack, despite playing on a front wall that yielded 26 sacks to rank 75th in the nation…The offense again struggled, placing 113th nationally in total offense (315.0 ypg) and 116th in scoring (17.92 ppg) among 120 major colleges…Warford garnered SEC Lineman of the Week honors after he delivered eight knockdowns and graded 91.7% vs. Kent State, as he manhandled All-Mid American Conference standout Roosevelt Nix, simply running over the defensive tackle before heading upfield to cut block linebacker Andre Parker on a 67-yard scoring scamper from tailback Raymond Sanders, as UK registered a season-high 539 yards…South Carolina held Kentucky to 58 yards on the ground, but touchdown runs of 10 yards by Sanders and 8 yards by QB Jalen Whitlow was due to Warford widening the rush lanes used for both scores…A stout Georgia defense was throttled by the right guard, as he first crushed nose guard Kwame Geathers on a 3-yard touchdown run by Sanders and also used a scramble block to shove nose guard John Jenkins out of the way as Sanders again reached the end zone from a yard out, as Kentucky tallied 260 yards on the ground vs. the Bulldogs…The team gained 275 of its 342 yards rushing by following Warford, who had six knockdowns and two touchdown-resulting blocks, including a kick-out block that neutralized defensive end Aaron Bethune on Jalen Whitlow’s QB keeper for a 20-yard score vs. Samford.
Warford was named to the All-SEC second-team by the league’s coaches, as he led the league’s interior blockers with a blocking consistency grade of 87.5%…Paced the Wildcats with thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks (team had just 21 touchdowns on offense) and 34 knockdowns…Allowed just one of the 35 saxcks allowed by the front wall…A member of the Outland Trophy Watch List, he was the lone bright spot on a unit that finished 117th among 120 FBS schools with an average of 15.38 points and 118th with an average of 259.75 yards per game.
Warford took over right guard duties, starting all thirteen games to garner All-SEC second-team recognition from the league’s coaches…Graded 87.6% for blocking consistency and led the team with 43 knockdowns and ten touchdown-resulting blocks…Was one of the major reasons the Wildcats averaged 427.85 yards per game, the 27th-best mark in the nation…Of the nineteen sacks given up by the front wall, none were charged to Warford, as he would close out the season earning Sophomore All-American honors from College Football News.
Warford appeared in ten games, backing up Stuart Hines at right offensive guard…Even though he performed with the second unit, he was named to the Southeastern Conference
No major injuries reported.
5.58 in the 40-yard dash…1.91 10-yard dash…3.18 20-yard dash…5.10 20-yard shuttle…
7.78 three-cone drill…22 ½-inch vertical jump…8’0” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times…31 7/8-inch arm length…9 5/8-inch hands…79 ¼-inch wingspan.
Warford first attended Oceanside (Cal.) High School, where he lettered in basketball as a freshman and sophomore…During his second season at the school, he also earned a starting job at offensive tackle for the football team…Warford moved with his family to Richmond, Kentucky prior to his junior season and he enrolled at Madison Central High School, where he concentrated on football…At Madison Central, he lettered twice for head coach Kenny Turner…The offensive guard earned second-team All-State honors from the Associated Press as a junior and first-team All-State accolades from the AP and Louisville Courier-Journal as a senior…Regarded as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, as that recruiting service listed 30th among the nation’s elite guard prospects…Named to the Lexington Herald-Leader “Class of the Commonwealth” listing of the top-22 seniors in Kentucky and was a two-time All-Region and All-District honoree…Helped lead Madison County to a 9-3 record his senior year, going to the second round of the state playoffs… Super Prep placed him fifth among all the prospects in the state of Kentucky…Concluded his prep career by playing in the Kentucky East-West All-Star Game.
Community Communications and Leadership Development major…Son of Colene and Larry Warford, Jr…Cousin, Paul Warford, was a cornerback at the University of Kentucky (2006-07, ’09)…Born in San Diego, California…Resides in Richmond, Kentucky.
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