Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen had a reason for skipping Friday's news conference in Tuscaloosa involving Crimson Tide underclassmen leaving early for the NFL.
He's staying put.
The 6-foot-3, 283-pound junior announced Saturday afternoon through social media that he will be returning to Alabama. Allen racked up 36 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and two forced fumbles this past season for the Crimson Tide, who won a 16th national championship with Monday's 45-40 outlasting of Clemson in Glendale, Ariz.
"Let the hunt for 17 begin," he posted on Twitter.
Tailback and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry announced Friday that he was forgoing his final season of eligibility at Alabama, as did defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson. Tight end O.J. Howard and inside linebacker Reuben Foster have yet to declare their intentions.
Allen was rated by CBS as the No. 4 defensive end in the 2016 NFL draft and the No. 19 overall prospect, so he could have been picked midway through the first round. He led the Tide in sacks and tackles for loss, and he was voted a Southeastern Conference first-team selection by league coaches last month.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said Saturday afternoon that 103 underclassmen had declared for the NFL draft. He added that's not a good thing, pointing out that a third of the underclassmen available the past two years have not been drafted.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.