Stuart McNair

Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen finalist for Camp and Lott honors

Alabama senior defensive end Jonathan Allen has been in Heisman conversation

Alabama had been fielding football teams for over 100 years, many of those years as one of the nation’s top teams with dozens of top stars, before ever having a Crimson Tider selected for the Heisman Trophy, given to the nation’s top college football player.
After Nick Saban took over the Alabama program, the Tide’s Mark Ingram won the award in 2009. And last year Derrick Henry became the second Heisman winner from Bama.
Perhaps there was some giddiness involved, but midway through this season, in which Alabama has been number one and gone undefeated with what is considered the nation’s top defense, there was the suggestion that the Tide might have another strong candidate. While the Heisman almost always goes to an offensive skill position player — and usually a quarterback, occasionally a running back — Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen was a name being floated.
Asked about that, Allen, a 6-3, 291-pound senior from Leesburg, Va., said, “It’s a tremendous honor even to be considered.”
He was also asked his thoughts on defensive players being in the Heisman conversation. Allen said, “I do think defensive players should be considered, but it’s an offensive award in my opinion. It doesn’t bother me. I really don’t focus on that. I try to focus on what I can control and that’s just playing good football. But as far as a defensive player, I feel like we should get more recognition.”
Top candidates are invited to New York for the Heisman presentation. Allen said, “Oh, it would be a dream come true just to be invited.”
Whether Allen makes it to New York or not, he has been selected as a finalist for both the Walter Camp Player of the Year and the Lott IMPACT Trophy. Allen is one of five finalists for the Walter Camp and one of four finalists for the Lott.
One of the Tide’s defensive leaders, Allen has recorded 52 tackles to rank fourth on the team, including 11 1/2 tackles for loss (-64 yards) while also registering two pass breakups and a blocked field goal.
Most notably, the defensive lineman has returned a team-high two fumble recoveries for 105 yards and two scores.
A feared pass rusher, Allen ranks 10th in the Southeastern Conference with seven sacks (-55 yards) and has a team-high 13 quarterback hurries this season. He is tied for second on the Alabama career sacks list with 25 and ranks fifth in tackles for loss (40 1/2).
Allen leads an Alabama defense that leads the nation in scoring defense, total defense, and rush defense, while ranking sixth in sacks and eighth in pass efficiency defense.
Allen said he considers Alabama to have the nation’s best defense “but we have to go out there and prove it every week. We have the mentality we have to go out there and suffocate and dominate the offense we go against.
“If all 11 men on our side of the ball do their job we’ll have the success we want.”
Allen and his teammates, undefeated at 12-0 and ranked first in the nation, face Florida in the next challenge in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game on Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Joining Allen as finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year are quarterbacks Jake Browning (Washington), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), and Deshaun Watson (Clemson), along with linebacker/return specialist Jabrill Peppers (Michigan). Last season, Derrick Henry became Alabama’s first recipient of the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.

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