Awards season in college football falls over a 2-week period in December, while February is typically reserved for music and movies. However, one last statue was still left to give to a college football player, and that player was Jonathan Allen.
The former Alabama defensive lineman was named the winner of the Lombardi Award, announced last night in Houston.
He defeated Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson to claim the honor. The Lombardi was founded in 1979 to honor the games’s best interior player, but expanded its criteria in 2016 to include all players.
“I was just in shock,” Allen told ESPN afterward. “Whenever you receive an award of this magnitude, it’s obviously a blessing.”
A senior now bound for the first round of the NFL Draft, Allen led Alabama’s top-rated defense by collecting 69 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. He also won the Nagurski, Bednarik and Hendricks trophies while finishing seventh in Heisman voting.
Allen is the third defensive lineman in four years and the fifth in the last eight to claim the honor, following Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska, 2009), Nick Fairley (Auburn, 2010), Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh, 2013) and Carl Nassib (Penn State, 2015).