Football’s Zach Allen to Return for Senior Season

zach allen

On Friday morning, Boston College football defensive end Zach Allen announced that he will forgo the upcoming NFL Draft and return to BC for his senior season.

The news comes just about a year after senior Harold Landry made the same decision. Unfortunately for the NFL prospect, his last year on the Heights didn’t go as planned. One year removed from leading the nation in sacks, Landry totaled just five in 2017—three of which came against Virginia Tech, the same game that the edge rusher suffered what would eventually be a season-ending right ankle injury. The Spring Lake, N.C. native was limited the next two weeks, and missed the final five games of the season, including the Eagles’ Pinstripe Bowl loss to Iowa. Without Landry on the opposite side of the line, Allen was the Eagles’ premier defensive end, and he rose to the occasion.

The junior was one of two defensive linemen in the country to rack up 100 or more tackles this season, practically tripling his sophomore year total. Amid a season defined by injury, Allen offered BC a sense of stability and, more importantly, consistency. He logged nine or more tackles in a game on five separate occasions, twice eclipsing double figures. Allen led the team with six sacks and was a force against the run, recording 15.5 tackles for loss—tied for the 10th most in BC single-season history.

Outside of the trenches, the 6-foot-5, 285 pound defensive lineman was just as effective. In the Eagles’ season opener against Northern Illinois, he got a finger on Christian Hagan’s potential game-tying 39-yard field goal, misdirecting the kick and ensuring BC its first 1-0 start in two years. Throughout the season, Allen tallied four pass deflections and recorded the first interception of his career.

Despite his breakout performance, the junior continued to fly under the radar. Although he received numerous local accolades, such as the 79th annual George “Bulger” Lowe Award, Allen never really became a household name. Earning an honorable mention, the junior was snubbed from the 2017 All-ACC Defensive squads, including the Third Team—where Landry, who finished with one less sack and 62 less tackles than Allen this season, was awarded a spot. When all was said and done, the college advisory committee projected him as a consensus second round pick.

Allen, who is vying for a first-round grade, is determined to polish his skills and take his game to another level next season. Moreover, he knows that if he left BC, he would never be able to get his senior year back—at least not in the same capacity.

“I really love Boston College,” Allen told BCEagles.com. “It truly is a great place. Playing in the NFL is my lifelong dream, and I’m totally committed to playing there. The NFL will still be there next year, but I only have one more year to experience college and get my degree.”

The junior is one of the Eagles’ 16 returning starters (nine offensive, seven defensive). After finishing this season with a 5-2 record, Allen, along with the rest of his team, believes that BC has something special on its hands in 2018.   

Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Heights Editor

About Andy Backstrom 251 Articles
Andy is the sports editor of The Heights. He is from the suburbs of Philly, but has been an Arizona Cardinals enthusiast since the first grade. Every so often, he'll replay Super Bowl XLIII on Madden to exact revenge on his father's beloved Steelers. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyHeights.