All last football season and into spring training, it was apparent then-true frosh Tight End Ferbia Allen was going to be exceptional in the passing game.
He could run well for a tight end and his hands border on exceptional.
It was also obvious he was oblivious to fear. Even though he only weighed in the 220s, there was no place Allen would not stick his nose.
Unfortunately, he also found out that 220-pound tight ends simply aren't big enough to excel in the SEC.
So he went to work changing that.
In the offseason, Allen gained a solid 20 pounds on his 6-3 frame and also got stronger, his two biggest goals.
Now, he's anxious to try that extra bulk out in August camp.
"The strength staff, and Coach Don Decker, have done a great job with me," said Ferbia. "Now I am ready to give this new body a test and see if it adds some pop to my game.
"I got better with blocking techniques in the spring, but I could tell I needed the extra weight and muscle to finish blocks. I'm still light for a TE in the SEC, but not nearly as light as I was and I feel a lot stronger. I should be more explosive."
Allen has not only gained in the weight and strength department, but he's gained mentally as well.
"Last year, I was like any freshman - kind of lost. Everything sounded like Chinese to me for a long time," he laughed. "But now I am more confident because I know what I am supposed to do and I'm not guessing any more. I'm more comfortable with my techniques and assignments."
Roll all that into a tidy new package, and Ferbia is expected to be a contributor this season.
"I don't know what my role will be yet, but I'm anxious to get on the field. Coach (James) Shibest knows that whatever he asks me to do - blocking, catching, whatever - I'm going to go hard and do it to the best of my ability," he continued. "I will give up my body to help my team. There's no doubt about that part."
Ferbia is currently backing senior Gerald Harris and is in a battle with Reggie Hicks, E.J. Epperson and frosh Z. Mason for playing time in the Rebs' two and three TE sets.
"I just want to help. I don't care if it is special teams or what. I just can't wait to get on the field," he stated.
When Ferbia is not on the field or in the classroom, you are likely to see him on campus on his new motorcycle, a Kawasaki 900 Cruiser. Last year he had a scooter to get to class on.
"I'm not into speed, I'm just into cruising around," he smiled. "It takes my mind off the pressures in my life with football and studying."
His choice of transportation somewhat mirrors his football career.
Last year, he was the try-hard scooter that just didn't have quite enough engine.
This year, he looks more like the cruiser, with power to get the job done.
For sure, that's his hope and goal.
Ferbia Allen -
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