Sizing Up Penn State Safety Marcus Allen

The big and talented Nittany Lion sophomore takes exception to the mere suggestion he could outgrow the position.

At Penn State Media Day in Beaver Stadium earlier this month, Nittany Lion sophomore safety Marcus Allen was still several hours removed from his 19th birthday.

So it seemed reasonable enough to wonder what the future might hold for the imposing physical specimen. Allen, you see, is kind of big for a defensive back. How big?

On the official Penn State roster, he is listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. But when asked to report his measureables, Allen said, "The say 6-3. I weigh 210."

He stood up while saying that. Despite wearing sneakers (as opposed to cleats), he was looking down on two reporters, both of them who are at least 6-3.

In the meantime, check out the high-tech photo illustration below, which shows Allen with several of his teammates at a PSU camp in June. The player to the far left is defensive end Torrence Brown, who is a legit 6-3 (and 250).

So for whatever reason, Penn State is obviously sandbagging it on Allen's height. And maybe … just maybe … it is because he doesn't want fools like me asking if there might come a point where he is just too big to play safety.

"How much does Kam Chancellor weigh?" Allen asked when that subject was broached. "Does he play safety still?"

Well, as of Friday night, Chancellor was holding out of the Seattle Seahawks' training camp, so he was not playing any position. But Allen's point was well-taken. At 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, the Pro-Bowler Chancellor is redefining the safety position in the NFL.

"He watches a lot of Kam Chancellor film," PSU safeties coach and defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said. "He sees himself a little bit like that — that box-type safety who's very good in the run game. He is a good pass defender. He does have good range. He does have good quickness and speed."

Former longtime NFL coach Jim Haslett is working as an advisor for the Lions this season.

"When Coach Haslett first came on the job, (Allen) was somebody that caught his attention," Shoop said. "(He) said if this guy can improve his ball skills a little bit, the sky's the limit for him. He can take his game to the next level."

Allen said his most recent 40-yard dash was his fastest yet at Penn State (4.5 seconds). His pro shuttle is just over four seconds.

So to say he is not even thinking about moving to another position — no matter how big he actually is — would be an understatement.

"When I get too big and can't move my hips and I'm stiff, that's when you'll say put him in the box at linebacker," he said. "But to me, I think I can move my hips. I have all the skill sets as far as I can play in coverage. I have not slowed down."

In the video above you can see our interview with Allen and a clip of him running a pro shuttle.

Stay tuned for more on Allen in the next day or so.

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