HOOVER, Ala. — Alabama’s buttoned-down, ultra-serious “Process” works. No one can argue with four national championships over the past seven seasons.
It’s fun to win, but it’s also fathomable that plenty of 18-year-olds aren’t jumping at the chance to be under Nick Saban’s watchful — and demanding — eye for four years.
Jonathan Allen was one of the players who made the leap, and now he’s an All-SEC defensive end and national champion who’s projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick next spring.
He often recruits high school players to Tuscaloosa, but his pitch doesn’t include much… dazzle.
“When you come to Alabama, you don’t come to Alabama for the parties,” Allen said Wednesday at SEC Media Days. “It’s hot. Humid. You don’t go there for the parties. You got there for football. So if your main focus is to party, then this might not be the school for you. We pride ourselves on our work ethic.”
He added that “the heat is probably the hardest thing you have to go through” during preseason workouts, with temperatures often soaring past 100 degrees.
It wasn’t like he expected anything else when he signed.
“The biggest thing Coach Saban says is, ‘I can’t promise you a starting spot. I can’t guarantee you anything. But I can guarantee if you work hard and do what you gotta do, you will have success,'” Allen said.
There was another recruiting job this past winter, as several Crimson Tide stars had to choose between the NFL and another year in T-Town.
Allen said each player made his own decision, with some (Derrick Henry and A’Shawn Robinson) leaving early and many (Allen, Eddie Jackson, O.J. Howard, Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams among them) staying put.
Williams, a pass-rushing outside linebacker, is projected by some outlets to be a Top-5 draft pick next year, provided he continues to pressure the quarterback at an efficient rate.
Allen had high praise for his teammate on Wednesday.
“One thing he’s not given enough credit for is stopping the run,” Allen said. “He’s very strong. He’s done a good job of coming in, working hard and busting his butt, and he’s starting to see some of the success from his hard work.”