Allen fighting for starting job

ATHENS – The rest of the SEC may not yet know about Asher Allen, but if last spring was any indication, they will know him soon enough. The Tucker native enrolled with the Bulldogs early and has been a showstopper ever since.

He almost stopped the show in the worst way this spring when he blocked an extra point at Georgia's spring game. Blocking kicks is usually encouraged at Georgia, but this extra point attempt was not live – at least for everyone but Allen.

He came off the end, and blocked Andy Bailey's extra point attempt, and send the big kicker to the ground holding his leg.

"I thought it was live," Allen said after the game.

Bailey was ok, but that type of mistake – an aggressive one – is to be expected from a talented freshman fighting to play in the fall. For the most part Allen gave the Georgia coaches a lot of what they liked to see – playmaking.

Now Allen could get to use his playmaking skills a little sooner than expected. The true freshman is fighting Ramarcus Brown for a starting cornerback spot, which was vacated when Thomas Flowers was suspended for two games at the start of fall camp. Allen could get a look at punt returner for the Western Kentucky and South Carolina games, too.

It was easy to see the Allen's potential early on. Head coach Mark Richt could not keep from talking about Allen in December as well as this spring. Allen enrolled at Georgia early to participate in those practices.

"How about that return man?" Richt said with a very big smile on his face last December in Athens. Allen had just returned the kickoff for a touchdown in one of his first practices at Georgia. He was giving the Dawgs a shot in the arm for their future at one of the poorest aspects of their game – kickoff return.

Georgia has struggled at that spot since 2002. Traditionally, the Bulldogs have placed the running backs coach as the lead coach for that area, and that has been the spot for most turnovers on the coaching staff. Since 2002, the Bulldogs have been through four official running backs coaches with quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo filling in, too. Allen could be a weapon for the Dawgs at that spot this fall.

"Asher is an incredible athlete," safety Tra Battle said this spring. "If he can refine his technique, there is no limitation to what he's capable of doing it. Right now, he's making plays, and they are just on instinct and ability alone. He gets himself in (bad) positions, and he still makes plays on the ball."

Willie Martinez might have to fight to keep on defense because the multi-talented freshman will get a look on offense in the future.

"Asher is a guy that is going to start out primarily at cornerback," said Richt. "I don't think there's any question he's got some great offensive skills I'm excited about taking advantage of. I don't know how excited Coach Martinez will be about me borrowing him every once in a while, but we have to find a way to get the ball in his hands for sure."

Martinez might not be excited, but Georgia fans will. Allen is a special talent who will become a household name in the SEC soon.

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