Four Alabama football student-athletes have been named to the 2016 Chuck Bednarik Award watch list announced today by the Maxwell Football Club.
The senior quartet of defensive end Jonathan Allen, linebackers Reuben Foster and Tim Williams and defensive back Eddie Jackson are among 90 student-athletes from around the country named to the preseason list. Alabama’s four selections is the most for any school.
One of the most productive defenders along the Tide’s vaunted defensive front, Allen returns for his senior campaign after foregoing the NFL Draft. He was named to the All-SEC First Team defense by the conference coaches and the Associated Press as a junior after ranking 17th nationally and second in the SEC in sacks with .80 per game (12.0 sacks). Allen recorded 36 tackles on the season with a team-leading 14.5 tackles for loss (-92 yards) and added four pass breakups and six quarterback hurries. All 12 of his sacks came against Power 5 competition with 11 coming against ranked teams.
Foster returns for his senior season to anchor the Alabama defense after learning under unanimous first team All-American and current Buffalo Bills linebacker Reggie Ragland during his junior campaign. An instinctive backer who earned the starting job at inside linebacker a season ago, Foster finished second on the team with 73 total tackles, eight for a loss (-24 yards), with two sacks (-7 yards), three quarterback hurries and nine pass breakups in 2015.
Jackson transitioned from corner to safety last spring and excelled in that role as a junior. He was selected to the All-SEC First Team by the conference coaches and Associated Press following the 2015 slate. Jackson also earned second team All-America honors from Walter Camp and the FWAA and was named a third team All-American by the Associated Press last season after leading the team in interceptions with six – two returned for touchdowns, a forced fumble and fumble recovery to go with his 46 tackles. Jackson accumulated 230 return yards on his interceptions, shattering the previous all-time record of 163 that was set in 1952. He finished as the league leader in interceptions and was ranked seventh nationally for picks.
One of the nation’s top pass rushing threats on the outside, Williams played in all 15 games as a junior and ranked second on the team with 10.5 sacks (-78 yards) to go with 12.5 tackles for loss (-92 yards), four quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. Williams came on strong late in his junior season, recording nearly all of his sacks and tackles for loss during his last five SEC games and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. He recorded at least half a sack in all five contests and 2.0 sacks apiece at Auburn and versus Florida. Williams notched 11.0 of his 12.5 tackles for loss (-61 yards) during that time, and added 7.0 of his 10.5 sacks (-60 yards).
The Chuck Bednarik Award has been presented annually since 1995 by the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia to the top defensive player in college football. The award is named in honor of former college and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Chuck Bednarik. The 2016 winner will be announced at the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December.