Much has been made of Alabama’s proficiency at taking down the opposing quarterback, and rightly so. The 2015 defense recorded the most sacks under Nick Saban; and the 2016 unit is on pace to beat those numbers.
Alabama currently has 50 sacks (52 in 15 games last year), averaging 3.57 a game. 17 players have at least 0.5 a sack. And the new boss is the same as the old boss. In 2015, Jonathan Allen (12.5) led the way with Tim Williams (10.5) and Ryan Anderson (6) following. In 2016, Jonathan Allen (9.5) leads the way with Tim Williams (9) and Ryan Anderson (8) following.
These three sack connoisseurs have already writ their names in Crimson flame. Derrick Thomas will forever sit atop the record books with his 52 career sacks and 27 in a single season, so the battle is for second place. Jonathan Allen started the season tied in 8th place, but he already has sole possession of 2nd place now. His 9.5 sacks this season give him 27 sacks (yeah, his career total just matches what Thomas did in a single season), two more than Kindal Morehead, who’d held 2nd place since 2005.
Tim Williams has moved on up as well. He entered 2016 outside the top 10 in career sacks, but he’s jumped to 7th (21 total sacks), right in between Wallace Gilberry (21.5) and Antwan Odom (20.5). He’ll need to bring down Deshaun Watson three times to crack the top 5.
Ryan Anderson, meanwhile, has also solidified himself in the top 10. He began the year with a respectable 10.5 sacks, but his performance this year bumped him into the upper echelon. His current 18.5 career sacks are good for 9th overall, passing guys like John Copeland (17.5) and Cornelius Bennett (15) and putting him just behind Jeremy Nunley (19).
Barring an ungodly game by Tim Williams, Jonathan Allen will end his career as the most prolific sacker not named Derrick Thomas in Alabama history. Williams and Anderson, on the other hand, both have a chance to move up a couple spots. Regardless of where they do end up, we’ve been lucky enough to watch three of the best pass-rushers in Alabama history the past few years.