"I'm 15 pounds heavier and whole lot wiser," he said.
It took his entire first semester to get his head screwed on straight. After a tough red-shirt season, Allen said he lacked maturity.
"I was very immature last year," he said. "I had to grow. That first semester, I had to learn a lot. It took a lot of maturing and just listening."
A Scout.com four-star tight end prospect out of Terry Sanford HS in Fayetteville, NC, Allen grew too used to being told how good he was.
There was also an unwarranted sense of entitlement.
"As highly recruited as I was, I came in and felt the university owed me something," he said, "like you're supposed to automatically play. That's the type of approach that I came in with. It wasn't that way."
Allen believes did some things well as a true freshman, but he came in light, not too willing to pick up a playbook and in great need of an attitude adjustment. He was given a red-shirt and told he'd have to wait until next year to see the field.
Though he worked hard in the weight room throughout the season, Allen admits it still wasn't all there. Then the light came on when Clemson was preparing to leave for the Gator Bowl against Nebraska.
"It hit me when we finally went to the bowl game like, boom," he said. "My New Year's resolution was to put myself in position where they're going to have to take me off the field instead of just pulling my off because.
"They're going to have to pry me off the field. I worked hard and that's where I'm at now."
Coach Dabo Swinney called Allen's year to date a transformation.
"He came in as a very immature player, not very focused, struggled academically and off the field. The whole things was kind of difficult for him," Swinney said.
In the spring, he noticed Allen was getting serious and had changed his attitude. With a GPA over 3.0, Swinney felt Allen began to understand what he needed to do to be more productive.
Swinney believes the attitude adjustment has made Allen more coachable.
"He's still a young guy and is going to make mistakes, but he is a big play waiting to happen," Swinney said.
Allen sees himself apart of a good group of tight ends. Everyone, he said, brings a different element to the group.
"I can run and block. Mike Palmer, who can block exceptionally well, he's mister consistency. Durrell Berry who can run like the wind and Rendrick Taylor who can do almost anything," Allen said.
Now as the second team tight-end, Allen said he's ready to contribute on Saturdays, "I keep saying it but, I'm so excited because I understand now that I can impact the game on many levels, as far as special teams, making the big catch and making the big block."
The evolution of Dwayne Allen
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