Editor’s note: Coming off its fourth national championship in seven seasons, Alabama returns a ton of talent, and has a great opportunity to repeat as champions in 2016.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a look at Alabama’s 25 most important players. Obviously, there’ll be coaches and other key members around the program who’ll have a big impact on the team’s success. But this list is strictly for the top 25 players for the Crimson Tide heading into 2016.
4. Jonathan Allen
With A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed gone, it’s Allen’s defensive line to lead.
He and Dalvin Tomlinson are the two most experienced players Alabama has returning on the defensive line so their leadership will be key this season.
Allen is one of those rare defensive lineman who is both a great pass rusher and run stopper. Alabama doesn’t have many guys who can do both so keeping Allen healthy is paramount.
Allen, a native of Leesburg, Va., finished second in the SEC and tied for seventh nationally with 12 sacks. He recorded 36 total tackles while leading the Tide with 14.5 tackles for loss.
Allen could have bolted for the NFL after a strong junior campaign and likely would have become a second-round draft pick. But by retaining Allen, the Crimson Tide’s defensive line returns a two-year starter who can rush the passer from the edge and inside while also holding up against the run.
Allen was out this spring as he recovered from shoulder surgery. The Crimson Tide felt his loss, as the team doesn’t have a ton of depth along the defensive line. Still, Allen was often spotted standing next to his position group providing leadership and support for the younger players.
Allen, Tomlinson, Da’Shawn Hand and Da’Ron Payne will be the featured players along Alabama’s defensive line. But the depth behind those guys must show up to keep the top guys healthy.
Having an experienced veteran like Allen leading the group should help the young players mature faster.
Coming Wednesday: A potential top-10 NFL draft pick
- No. 5 Tim Williams
- No. 6 Ryan Anderson
- No. 7 Calvin Ridley
- No. 8 O.J. Howard
- No. 9 Eddie Jackson
- No. 10 Marlon Humphrey
- No. 11 Minkah Fitzpatrick
- No. 12 Cooper Bateman/David Cornwell/Blake Barnett/Jalen Hurts
- No. 13 Robert Foster
- No. 14 Da’Shawn Hand
- No. 15 Da’Ron Payne
- No. 16 ArDarius Stewart
- No. 17 Shaun Dion Hamilton
- No. 18 Dalvin Tomlinson
- No. 19 Ronnie Harrison
- No. 20 Ross Pierschbacher
- No. 21 Lester Cotton
- No. 22 JK Scott
- No. 23 Rashaan Evans
- No. 24 Jonah Williams
- No. 25 Adam Griffith