You have to give it to the Rotary Club of Houston. Almost everyone expected the club to select its somewhat local favorite, defensive end Myles Garrett of Texas A&M, as winner of the Rotary Lombardi Award.
Instead, Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen will have to shove things around in his trophy case to make room for yet another major award for the Crimson Tide star, who was announced as the winner Saturday night.
The Rotary Lombardi Award is presented annually to the college football player who best demonstrates outstanding performance and skill in their position and best exemplifies the discipline, virtue and wisdom that defined Vincent Lombardi’s exceptional brand of leadership.
The award was Allen’s fourth national award of his senior season, as he was also the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award, which honor the national defensive player of the year, and the Ted Hendricks Award, which goes to the top defensive end in college football.
The Leesburg, Va., native was also selected as a unanimous All-America and was chosen as the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year by both the Associated Press and the conference coaches.
Allen, one of the Crimson Tide’s permanent captains for the 2016 season, leaves The Capstone as one of the most decorated defensive players in program history. He finished his Crimson Tide career ranked second in sacks with 28 1/2 (-205 yards) with a standout senior campaign in which he led the Tide with 10 1/2 (-82 yards). He finished the 2016 season with 69 total tackles to rank third on the team, including 16 for loss (-94 yards) that tied him for second. Allen also collected a team-high 15 quarterback pressures.
He will be particularly remembered for three fumble recoveries that he returned for 115 yards, including runbacks for touchdowns of 75 and 30 yards.
Allen was selected over Garrett, Lamar Jackson (Louisville), and Jabrill Peppers of Michigan.
He is the second Alabama player selected for the award, joining Cornelius Bennett who won in 1986.