Despite receiving a second round grade by the advisory board for the upcoming NFL Draft, Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen announced over the weekend he would return for his senior season. Allen lead the Crimson Tide in sacks in 2015 but after speaking to several confidants, determined a return would in his best interest.
Allen recently spoke to ESPN to discuss his decision, which ultimately came down to improving his stock and returning to defend the Tide's latest national title:
"I looked at it from every angle I possibly could and discussed it with all the people I trust," Allen said. "The smartest thing I could do was come back to Alabama and finish out my career."
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The First Team All-SEC lineman sought the advice of his head coach Nick Saban, as well as senior teammate and fellow defensive lineman Jarran Reed before making his final decision:
"I know a lot people were saying I might go in the first round, but it's important that you listen to the right people," said Allen. "My grade was second round. Nothing's guaranteed, but I know the people coach (Nick) Saban is talking to and I trust him and I trust the people here at Alabama to steer me in the right direction.
"Jarran was in my same position last year, and especially with us both playing on the defensive line, he gave me some things to think about and some things to look at."
In the interview, Allen also revealed he plans to undergo surgery to his labrum, something that could have potentially hurt his stock heading into the 2016 NFL Draft. Allen intends to buy insurance for next season in case he is injured and costs himself an ideal draft position next season.
Despite the departures of several key players from the national title team, the Alabama front seven could be just as devastating next season with all the talented prospects the team has been able to recruit to Tuscaloosa. If Allen can once again lead his team in sacks, this time without A'Shawn Robinson lined up next to him, it's hard to imagine the senior not being selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.