Hustle and Flow

OMAHA, Neb. – A little over a year ago, Will Allen made a choice – a choice that would drastically change the course of his Ole Miss career.

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He decided to grow his hair out.

Allen, the Rebels' starting catcher and cleanup hitter, is a Johnny Bench Award finalist and one of the most accomplished players in the Southeastern Conference, if not the nation. He went 3 for 5 and drove in the go-ahead run in a 6-4 win over TCU Thursday night to keep his team alive in the College World Series, and his .505 slugging percentage tops all Ole Miss hitters.

But if Twitter and other social media platforms were all you went by, especially during a game in real time, Allen's hair gets far more attention than any of his many accomplishments. And he has no shortage of female fans.

"It's kind of obnoxious, to be honest with you," Ole Miss first baseman Sikes Orvis, a roommate of Allen's along with senior left-handed pitcher Austin Blunt, said. "Me and Austin do a really good job of trying to keep him grounded, not let his head get too big.

"His whole hair persona has been taken to a whole ‘nother level. He's, I don't want to say eating it up, but he's not mad at it."

"His whole hair persona has been taken to a whole ‘nother level."

Allen decided to go with his new, long-hair look during the Raleigh Regional last May. He started all three games in the regional as the designated hitter, coming through with an RBI against William & Mary and going 2 for 3 against Binghamton in an elimination game.

"I wanted to do things a little bit differently, have a little more fun with it," Allen said. "I told myself I wasn't going to cut it the whole summer and see what it looked like. It got to a real awkward stage; I was wearing a hat all day, even to nice restaurants."

Now when he goes to restaurants for, say, dinner, as he did to a cupcake shop here in Omaha earlier this week, he gets food named after him. All because of his hair.

"It's a pain in the butt whenever we're going to dinner," Orvis said, adding Allen's sister, Amanda, is "the real brains behind the operation." She gives him tips on how to maintain the hair, which even has its own Twitter account, @WillAllensHair.

Will Allen (AP)

"Me and Austin get ready pretty quick. It always seems like we're waiting on Will. We're on Will's time. When he rolls out, we're ready. He takes pride in that hair."

That pride is apparently paying off, if the many messages and mentions, etc., he receives are any indication.

"I've definitely heard the fans' stuff," Allen said. "I'm glad they like it. I'm glad (Ole Miss head) coach (Mike) Bianco is letting me keep it. We've had a couple guys in the past try to do it, and he's been like ‘That's not happening, cut it.' For whatever reason, he let me keep it this year."

Orvis tried. Blunt tried, too. They both failed.

"I'll give Will credit," Orvis said. "Me and Blunt tried to do it, we both tried to grow our hair out, and we bagged it, man. Mine got really bad, his got really bad. Will kept going. I had a mullet."

And because he kept it going, here he is, in the College World Series, talking about his hair. Ole Miss waited 42 years to return to Omaha for this, of course.

"I'm not cutting it anytime soon," Allen said. Ole Miss takes on Virginia in another elimination game Friday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

"No, dude," Orvis said. "He's loving it. I'm ready for him to cut it, man. I'm getting tired of it."

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