"Growing up together and playing together for a long time, we know how each other play so we know what the deal is," Allen said. "If one of us messes up, we have each other's back."
With Shankle graduated and headed to North Carolina, Allen, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, becomes the face of the football team.
"I've already told him that he's going to be the guy," Little said. "He's got to take Terry's place on offense and defense. We've got to move him around and get him the ball eight to ten times a game."
In addition to having both the offense and defense on his shoulders, Allen will take over punt and kickoff return duties, which were vacated by Shankle.
During the preseason heading into his sophomore year, Allen emerged as the starting quarterback. He ended the year with 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns on 109-of-187 (58-percent) passing. He also rushed for 623 yards on 51 carries (12.2-aveage).
Allen began last season at quarterback. Midway through, though, he was moved to slot receiver and also became the starting free safety.
"We needed him on defense and I don't like to play my quarterback on defense," Little said. "Plus we had Desi [Brown emerge at quarterback]."
Moving out of the quarterback position allowed Allen to be a fulltime starter on both sides of the ball and thus freed up Shankle, a starting cornerback in the Shrine Bowl, to play cornerback on defense.
"[Allen] just played that middle field for us that Terry played as a junior," Little said. "We were able to move Terry over to corner and have him cover the other team's best receiver. Detric took over the centerfield for us."
With roughly a half season of full-time work on defense, Allen collected three interceptions.
Offensively, Allen ended the season with 14 receptions for 312 yards and three touchdowns, and 68 rushes for 712 yards and five scores. He also completed 79-of-119 passes for 1,109 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Spending more time on defense will only help Allen's recruiting stock since he's mostly being recruited as a safety.
"Wake Forest and Duke have both mentioned him playing that hybrid safety for them where he walks down into the box," Little said. "They think he'll end up being around 200-210 pounds."
Little believes Allen could play either safety or cornerback on the next level.
"He's just as athletic as Terry is out there," Little said. "He's got the speed – he can run – and athletic ability – good hips, good change-of-direction. And he's physical – he's a very physical guy on defense."
Duke, Virginia, and Wake Forest have recently extended offers to Allen. While several other schools have expressed interest in Allen.
"Virginia Tech has called for film," Little said. "Coach [Danny] Pearman – he was recruiting Allen last year when he was at Maryland – has called since he's been at Clemson and said they watched film and they really like him; they're trying to get him down to visit."
A year ago, UNC became one of the first schools to recruit Allen. However, the staff turnover has created a pause in UNC's recruitment of him.
"[Tommy Thigpen] hasn't called since he left for Auburn, but he was recruiting [Allen] real hard when he was at UNC," Little said. "… Marcus Berry called [last Wednesday] morning and said he wanted [Allen's] film and wanted to get it on Coach [Everett] Withers' desk as soon as he could."
UNC now has a copy of Allen's film.
Allen has attended junior days at both Duke and Wake Forest. He plans to return to both schools this summer for their respective camps. He's also considering camping at Clemson.
Allen says he will probably wait until after his senior football season to make a verbal commitment.
"Duke and Wake Forest stick out because they've been talking to me and I went down there and visited," Allen said. "I'm looking at schools' academics, too – not just the football. And those two have good academic reputations."
UNC, if it resumes its recruitment of Allen, possesses the unmatched edge of having Allen's former teammate and cousin on its roster.
"[Shankle] might [help UNC], because I have somebody I know and I know I fit in with," Allen said. "I'd like to play with him again, but I'd liked to play against him one time, too. We can see who the better one is."