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Bama’s Allen Wins Bronko Nagurski Trophy
Defensive End has Tide poised to repeat as national champs in Final Four
Finally, the Alabama Crimson Tide landed a winner in the Bronko Nagurski Trophy balloting: defensive end Jonathan Allen. The nation’s top-ranked team, attempting to win a second straight national title and fifth in eight years, saw Allen claim the trophy as the best defensive player in college football, as chosen by the Football Writers Association of America.
Alabama has had a Nagurski finalist seven times in the last eight years; in fact, the Crimson Tide had two of the five 2016 Nagurski finalists. The previous six times, a Crimson Tide player didn’t get the nod in Charlotte. But Allen, a 6-3, 291-pound senior from Leesburg, Va., broke that streak after returning for his senior season to improve his draft status. Frank Coyle ranks Allen as a Top 10 draft choice entering the postseason. Allen has been on the Senior Bowl list since August 2016. Coyle is a voter in all the major awards, including the Bronko Nagurski award. He voted for DL Jonathan Allen this year.
Photo - DL Jonathan Allen - Alabama
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“I’m honestly speechless right now. I never in a million years thought I would even be up for this award, yet win it,” Allen said. “I’ve got to thank all the guys back at Alabama, God, my parents, my girlfriend, everyone who’s had a part in shaping me and making me who I am. This is just a tremendous award.”
“Few would debate that Alabama has the nation’s best defensive line, and Jonathan Allen is a major reason why Crimson Tide opponents have such a difficult time moving the ball,” said FWAA President Mark Anderson. “He is the winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and had to beat out one of his teammates, Reuben Foster, for it.”
The finalists on hand for the banquet hosted by the Charlotte Touchdown Club were: Allen, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Clemson end Christian Wilkins.
Projected as a high first-round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft, Allen has been nicknamed “Superman” for some of his plays. Allen is a standout on the nation’s best defense, which, until the SEC Championship Game, hadn’t given up a touchdown since Oct. 22 against Texas A&M.
“Jonathan Allen is a fantastic player for us, even a better person and leader,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “He’s had an outstanding year. I think he’s sort of someone that a lot of players should look at who came here weighing probably 250 pounds. We kind of recruited him as an outside linebacker. The guy has developed each and every year into being a better and better and better player. I think sometimes a lot of players lose sight of how football is a developmental game, how they improve, how they can improve their value by continuing to grow and develop as players in college. Jonathan Allen is a great example of that.”
Allen is second on the Crimson Tide’s career sack list with 26.5 and has nine sacks for 72 yards in losses this season. He has 15 quarterback hurries, has broken up two passes, and blocked a kick. He has scored touchdowns on two fumble recoveries – a 75-yard return against Ole Miss and a 30-yard return against Texas A&M.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner was chosen from the five finalists who are part of the 2016 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selected the Nagurski Trophy finalists and winner.
In addition to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement at the Charlotte Convention Center, the banquet celebrated the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Navy’s Chet Moeller, a member of the FWAA’s 1975 All-America Team and a College Football Hall of Famer, was honored. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was the keynote speaker at the banquet.
The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football, then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast more than 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites