Stuart McNair

Alabama spring practice begins search for replacements for Allen, Tomlinson

Eighth in a series looking at Alabama positions prior to spring practice

The two men who started at the defensive end spots for Alabama last season in the Crimson Tide’s 3-4 defense are participating in the NFL Combine as Bama prepares for a spring practice that will begin the process of finding new starters on the line.
Those losses include Jonathan Allen, one of the most decorated players in Alabama football history and a man expected to be among the first taken in this year’s NFL draft. Also gone from the Alabama defensive front is steady Dalvin Tomlinson. Also graduated was backup Dakota Ball.
This is part of a series looking at all Alabama positions prior to the start of spring drills.
Allen ranked third in tackles for Alabama last year, including a team-high 10 1/2 sacks, 15 quarterback pressures, and three fumble recoveries, two of them returned for touchdowns. He was a unanimous first team All-America and winner of the Bednarik, Nagurski, Lombardi, and Hendricks awards. Tomlinson was sixth in tackles and had three sacks, a caused fumble, four pass break-ups, and seven quarterback pressures.
Da’Shawn Hand, a 6-4, 280-pound senior, was Alabama’s first substitute on the defensive line this year and seems a likely replacement for Allen on the left side. Hand came to Alabama as one of the nation’s top prospects, but has been mired behind outstanding players. He has played in every Tide game the past two years. In 2016 he had 21 tackles, including two sacks, and had five quarterback pressures.
Alabama added two defensive linemen for 2016. Raekwon Davis (6-7, 315) played in seven games and had four tackles and a sack and caused a fumble. Quinine Williams (6-4, 284) was redshirted last season, but was one of the first players mentioned by his teammates as a future star.
Isaiah Buggs (6-5, 290) came to Alabama from Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College in this year’s signing class and is one of 16 Tide signees who entered The University for the spring semester in order to participate in spring practice. Scout ranked him a five-star and the number one JUCO defensive player in the nation. Last year he had 75 tackles, including 10 for loss.
Returning from backup status last year are senior Jamar King (604, 290), a former junior college transfer, and junior Johnny Dwight (6-3, 306), who was athletic enough to be worked at tight end early in his Bama career.
Although a starting date for Alabama spring practice has not yet been announced, it is expected to begin after the completion of The University’s spring break, which is March 11-19. The A-Day Game will be April 22.


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