‘My Fate is In My Hands'

CLEMSON — When you are rated as the No. 8 tight end in the country coming out of high school, expectations are high. But when your name is Dwayne Allen, it just comes with the territory.

Expectations for the 6-foot-3, 220-pound freshman have always been high on the football.

During his career at Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, N.C., Allen could do it all. A solid blocker, he was more than big enough and quick enough to take on speedy defensive ends and linebackers, but nimble enough slip out for a pass here and there for big yardage.

A four-star prospect by Scout.com, Allen averaged 18.5 yards per catch during his high school career, including five touchdown receptions as a senior.

It was that big play ability that lured Clemson to him and it was what Clemson had to offer that persuaded him in choosing Clemson over the likes of Georgia, Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

"'Live up to the expectations Dwayne.' That's what the coaches tell me. They said there is talk that I'm the best tight end that has ever come here so I just want to leave up to those expectations," Allen said in a recent interview with CUTigers.com.

Though Allen did not get the opportunity this year to live up to the hype after former head coach Tommy Bowden and now quarterbacks coach Billy Napier decided to redshirt him, he did live up to the hype of being a team player. Instead of being mad and requesting a transfer after he learned he was not going to play in 2008, Allen stayed focused on the ultimate goal and realized sitting out a year was the best thing that could have happened to him.

"It has helped. When I first got word that I was going to have to redshirt I was very disappointed," he said. "That was the truth. I was disappointed. One of the reasons I picked Clemson was because I was going to be able to play early, but it turned out to be a blessing with some of things that have gone on with me at home and then academics.

"Being redshirted gave me more time to get things completed and to get them done."

And now he is ready to get it done on the football field.

"I have gotten bigger, stronger and faster. You know the things that they redshirt players for," Allen said. "I have been able to go against our first-team defense so that has made me better. It has enhanced my blocking skills, helped with my route running and I've learned how to get open better."

In the spring, it will be Allen's time to prove he can live up to the expectations that were put upon him when he chose to come to Clemson last February. And don't worry he has enough confidence in himself to live up to those high expectations.

"I have to play to the best of my ability. I chose Clemson because I was going to be able to play early. It's up to me. My fate is in my hands," he said.

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