At the end of spring practice, it was the opinion of the BamaMag.com staff that the defensive front three would be Jonathan Allen (backed up by Da’Shawn Hand) at right end, Dalvin Tomlinson at left end, and Da’ron Payne at nose tackle.
But that was just our opinion based on what we had seen in the 2015 season and relatively limited observation in 2016 spring practice.
We are also aware that preseason all-star teams sometimes take a little liberty with where men actually play, so that a preseason all-star line might include two or three men who are all left tackles for their teams. And that might be why Da’Shawn Hand, who is the backup to Jonathan Allen, is showing up on some all-star lists, while Dalvin Tomlinson, who seems to have the lead at end alongside Allen, doesn’t get the all-star love.
At least not at end.
We have seen Tomlinson, a 6-3, 307-pound senior, listed as one of the nation’s top defensive tackles. Tomlinson has been an impressive pass rusher, including breaking up six passes and forcing four quarterback hurries last year.
In our look at some of these lists of top players at college football positions, we have counted a number of Bama players, but also a number of men at those positions who will be playing against the Crimson Tide this year. This exercise seems always to include LSU players, and junior Davon Godchaux represents the Tigers.
Alabama also will be playing against Montravius Adams of Auburn and D.J. Jones of Ole Miss.
Missouri has two of the nation’s top defensive tackles in senior Josh Augusta and sophomore Terry Beckner. Also from the SEC is Florida’s Caleb Brantley.