Jeff Allen Living Dream, Waiting For Draft

Former Illini football players are taking no chances when it comes to NFL draft preparations. Four were invited to the NFL combine, but they and their teammates participated in a recent Illinois Pro Timing Day also. Among them was offensive lineman Jeff Allen, who hopes for a high pick in this year's draft.

Jeff Allen enjoyed an outstanding career at Illinois. Besides Big 10 recognition for his play, he helped lead the Illini to two consecutive bowl wins. He participated both in the NFL Combine and the recent Pro Timing Day on campus, and he feels good about his performances.

"I had a very good time. This whole process, I've been preparing for it, training for it, since the bowl game. I expected to do well, and that's been true so far."

He has looked forward to playing in the NFL ever since he arrived at Illinois out of the Chicago Public League.

"Yeah, I've always dreamed about it. It's something I've visualized about and dreamed about for a long time. It's finally here."

Allen received good feedback from the scouts regarding his campus workout.

"Everyone told me I had a good workout. I'm looking forward to going into my private workouts and carrying this momentum over.

"Most of the teams want to see if you're a good athlete. So you try to show your athleticism a little bit. They've seen you in pads and on film, and that's for sure the most important part. They want to see how you move out here."

The 6'-4", 310 pounder was a four year fixture for the Illini at left tackle, but the pros may have other positions in mind.

"I've been hearing that I am a versatility guy. I can play all over the place. In my own mind, I see myself as a football player. I can play anything. That's a huge value for the next level."

Allen admits the process has caused him to experience a wide range of emotions.

"It's all the above. For sure, it's an exciting time. It's something you dream about. But it can be stressful at times because you don't know where you're going to be or who likes you. You've just got to stay balanced and focused and hope for the best."

Allen has been busy since the Kraft Bowl.

"I was in Florida for about six weeks after our bowl game. Now I'm back and taking classes to graduate. I have a few team visits lined up to do workouts. So the process isn't over after this. I've still got a long time to go to continue to improve myself."

If he had a choice, he knows where he would love to play.

"The Bears, I'd love to go there. That would be my hometown, and I've always liked them. But I know this is a business. So I like whoever likes me."

Draft day will be most stressful of all for Allen. While he is likely to get drafted, his draft round is still far from determined.

"I've been hearing all over the place. It's something I can't worry about right now. I've just got to continue to show them I'm a good player. Hopefully guys will go back and look at my film and see that I'm a good player, and I can go as high as possible."

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