Although being a fairly sought after recruit, Allen didn’t come in with high expectations because often times, offensive linemen don’t see the field as true freshman.
Instead of redshirting like most, Allen went on to be a freshman All-American after appearing in 12 games and starting in one. He played both guard positions and center for the Spartans, showing great versatility and technique for a freshman.
Now entering his first spring practice and getting ready for his sophomore campaign, Allen says he didn’t have to worry about the game slowing down for him.
“I wouldn’t really say it’s slowed down a lot, that kind of happened last year like mid-season,” Allen said. “I’m just kind of building off of that. I really got better as the second part of the year went on. The first couple days were a little shaky, but after that, everyone seemed to pick up right where we left off from the Cotton Bowl, and we’re just growing from there.”
After being listed as the starting left guard on the initial spring depth chart, Allen said he’s enjoying his first spring practice and the chance to get better.
“Yeah, now it’s kind of a grind,” Allen said. “Everyone is so beat up, we’re in there the whole time. But, I like practice. The first six periods, I’m not a a big fan, the stretching and getting in and being uncomfortable and get used to it. But, the team periods and everything, I like playing. When we’re in the scrimmages, I want to be in there the whole time, it’s not something I complain about.”
Despite some of the success he had as a freshman, Allen feels there is still a lot he needs to work on before the season starts. Allen felt he made too many mistakes in the season, but he has learned from them.
He also said he’s been getting a lot of work with film and studying the playbook, trying to correct some of the little things he does and refining his technique. Along with trying to get mentally ready for the game, he thinks improving physically is important for the upcoming year.
“This summer, I’m going to lift a lot too, I want to get stronger,” Allen said. “I’m kind of dumpy right now, not too dumpy. Last year, I was about 315, 316 during the year, and I had a gut on me. Right now, I’m like 300, but I want to tone that up and have a better 300 pound body than I do right now.”
He also mentioned that going up against the Spartans’ skilled defensive line is helping him each and every day with their toughness.
“They’re all really good and they’re all making me a lot better, and they’re all tough to play against,” Allen said. “You can’t really take a play off or lose concentration, or those guys will get you.”
With Allen likely to be the starter at guard come fall, he will be starting along side his older brother Jack for his senior season. When asked how much that would mean to him, Allen said it would be great, but it’s not set in stone yet.
“It’s pretty cool, but I still have to go out there and earn that every day, that’s not a given thing,” Allen said. “August is pretty far away, so I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then.”
Still, the help from his brother will make him a better player, and Allen said he wants to be a dominant player in his own right.
“I want to go out and not just start, but pretty dominant out there and know what I’m doing now,” Allen said. “Having my brother and Conklin next to me, it definitely makes it easier playing in between two potential first-team All-Americans.”