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Alabama Football Film Room: Jonathan Allen

On a deep and talented defensive line in 2015, Jonathan Allen still managed to stand out, leading the team in sacks. Another solid season would cement him as one of the greatest pass-rushers in Alabama history.

He will find you.  And he will sack you.
He will find you. And he will sack you.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Allen has already etched his name in the record books. The former five star (#16 overall player in the Class of 2013) has 17.5 career sacks, 12 of which came last year. All 12 were against Power 5 teams. Those 12 sacks were the most in a single season by an Alabama player not named Derrick Thomas. With 17.5 career sacks, he already ranks 8th all-time in Alabama history and is just 8 away from sole possession of second place.

Allen started contributing right away as a true freshman, appearing in all 13 games that season. He followed up with a sophomore campaign that netted First Team All-SEC honors, and his 5.5 sacks were good for second most on the team. In 2015, he yet again improved substantially. As a senior, Allen will finally be a full-time starter; and the sky’s the limit.

Texas A&M

3rd and 6: Allen is lined up at the 3 technique spot (on the outside shoulder of the guard) to the left. He gets his hands in the chest of the right guard (Joseph Cheek), grabs two fistfuls of jersey, and yanks him to the left. With Cheek stumbling to the side, Allen makes a beeline to QB Kyle Allen, smashing into him just before he gets a pass off. A&M recovers the fumble, but it's an amazing job by Allen.

2nd and 5: Allen is lined up at right defensive end (RDE). He fills into the B gap (between the guard and tackle) and has good leverage on LT Avery Gennesy. Allen keeps his eyes in the backfield, and he sees RB Tra Carson bouncing to the outside. He sheds the block and tackles Carson for a loss.

2nd and 10: Allen is at RDE. The right guard pulls, and Kyle Allen is reading Jonathan Allen on whether to hand it off or keep it. Jonathan Allen gets in position to cover the running back; but he’s also set himself up to be able to play the QB, too. Allen keeps it but barely has anywhere to go. Another tackle for a loss.

3rd and 10: Allen is at 3-tech again. Just another example similar to the first play with Allen grabbing and yanking the right guard out of place. This time, though, Kyle Allen gets the pass off.

1st and 10: Allen continues to cause problems for Joseph Cheek. He swats away Cheek’s hands and steps inside of him. Cheek is now sideways as Allen is starting to build up steam, and it’s over. Kyle Allen notices him too late, and Jonathan Allen wraps him up and brings him down for the sack.


1st and 10: Allen is at left defensive end, on the inside shoulder of the right tackle. He’s a hair slow off the snap, but the tackle has no real interest in blocking him and moves up to set up the screen. Allen sees QB Josh Dobbs pass and spins around, locating the receiver. He reacts quickly and makes contact. Allen doesn’t bring him down, but his attempt allowed others to get there.

3rd and 19: Allen explodes off the snap. He gets in the left tackle’s chest, lowers his head, and drives Kyler Kerbyson back. His progress stops, and he pops his head up to find Dobbs. Allen moves to the right and manages to dip underneath Kerbyson, forcing Dobbs to scramble. Allen tracks him down and hits him from behind as he was getting stopped by Reuben Foster.

1st and 15: Allen is at defensive tackle. He stunts inside, and the right guard passes him off to the center. He bowls into the center and knocks him down on his back before he can get his feet set. Allen follows through and dives into Dobbs, coming up with a clutch sack in Tennessee’s final drive.


3rd and 9: Allen is at defensive tackle on the left side. He tries his grab and throw move on William Clapp, the RG; but it doesn’t work. QB Brandon Harris is scrambling now, though; and Allen sees it. He disengages and shows off his surprising quickness. Harris throws it away, but Allen still lays a big hit on him.

3rd and 4: Allen is on the inside shoulder of the right guard. He knifes through the A gap (between the center and guard), ripping through Clapp’s attempted block. The center, Ethan Pocic, tries to help out; but Allen is on his way through. Harris manages to get the pass off, but Allen still slams him into the ground.

Mississippi State

1st and 10: Allen is the right defensive end. He gets his hands in the left tackle’s chest and knocks him back a little. The tackle is now off balance, with his weight leaning forward. Allen grabs him and yanks him aside. Denzel Devall beat his man on the other side of the line and is already pressuring the quarterback. Dak Prescott avoids Devall, but Allen is there to finish it off.

3rd and 7: Allen is over the right guard. He has good reaction off the snap and starts moving inside. The guard takes one step forward with his left leg and punches forward with both hands, which leaves him completely unprepared to handle Allen’s inside move. Allen rips with his left arm and squeezes through the gap, somehow managing to stay on his feet. Prescott narrowly avoids Tim Williams and Allen and gets the pass off.

1st and goal: Allen is again the right defensive end. He tries to beat the left tackle to the outside, but he can’t bend the corner or win the hand battle. Allen keeps his eyes on Prescott, though; and he comes off of the tackle as the QB barely escapes the oncoming A’Shawn Robinson. Allen hugs him and brings him down. It’s a coverage sack, sure; but Allen never gave up.

2nd and goal: Allen’s still the RDE. He again goes to the outside, but this time he uses his hands more effectively. He swats the tackle’s arms away and gets by him, shrugging off one last, futile attempt by the tackle to save his QB. Prescott’s attention is to the right of the field, and he never sees the inexorable sack machine coming from his blindside. Allen hits him in the back, notches his third and Alabama’s gazillionth (okay, 9th) of the game, and strips the ball loose. State recovers, but they have to settle for a field goal.

Michigan State

3rd and 13: By God, I actually feel sorry for the right side of the Spartan’s line. Allen is the 3-tech with Tim Williams to his left as the defensive end. Allen punches with his left hand and swipes at the guard’s hands with his right as he tries to go to the inside. This gets Benny McGowan (the RG) at an angle, and Allen comes back with his left arm and staggers him. He then goes back to the outside and fights through both McGowan and the running back, who came up to help. Allen grabs ahold of QB Connor Cook and flings him to the ground. Alabama rushes four against MSU’s six and wins.

2nd and 10: Allen is lined up as a defensive tackle with Ryan Anderson to his left. He fakes going to the outside of the guard and crosses back in front of him. The guard punches at him, but that’s about it. Allen hits that A gap, plowing into center Jack Allen. He got his hands underneath and shoves Jack Allen aside, clearing a path to Connor Cook, who was forced to step up into Allen to avoid the rushing Anderson.

3rd and 6: Allen is one of two down linemen (the other is A’Shawn Robinson), and he’s over the right guard. Allen stunts and crosses over to the right, easily getting picked up by the center and left guard. His eyes are in the backfield, though; and he sees Cook getting ready to throw it. He backs off and jumps, tipping the ball up into the air. Michigan State still ends up catching it for a short gain, but Allen prevented a likely longer gain and gave the defense a chance at a pick.