By AARON SUTTLES
The Tuscaloosa News
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - It was quite the year for Jonathan Allen.
After opting to return for his senior season at the University of Alabama, the talented defensive lineman won several major national defensive awards. He followed that up by proposing to his girlfriend and then a few days later became a first-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins.
For a season that will go down in the Crimson Tide history books, Allen was voted the Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. The award will formally be given Sunday evening at the ASWA convention.
"It's a blessing," Allen said. "To win an award like that, it definitely means a lot. I'm just really humbled and appreciative of having the opportunity to do what God has blessed me with."
About the only thing that didn't go right for Allen during his senior season was the way it ended, falling one second short of a second consecutive national title. But Allen kept it all in perspective.
He led a nasty defensive unit, one widely considered the best in the country. The snapshot of his season came on his iconic sack of Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight, which has since been nicknamed "The Superman" sack. Allen beat the offensive lineman at the snap and dove over a running back who came into the play to cut him. Allen knew what was coming and dove over the back to sack Knight.
Allen won the Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski awards as the nation's top defender. He recorded 69 tackles, including 16 for loss, and was tops on the team with 10.5 sacks. He was Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year.
"It's really hard to put into words what the last year has meant," Allen said. "So much has happened in so little time you just take it and run with it. Take each day day by day and handle it to the best of your abilities.
"Looking back on it I'll probably enjoy it more later in life, but right now I'm just so focused on what I have to do right now with everything I've got going on. It's hard to sit back and enjoy it, but it's been a fun ride the whole time."
Allen signed his rookie contract with the Redskins, which was worth $11.6 million, including a $6.6 million signing bonus.
He is joined in Washington by his defensive teammate Ryan Anderson.
Allen expressed his thanks to the Alabama sportswriters for putting him beside such illustrious athletes in the state's history.
"It means a lot just to have your name in the same category as some of those guys," Allen said. "It's pretty remarkable within itself. Like I said before it's definitely a blessing."