UT rookie's healthy, rarin' to go

After watching the Vols drub Michigan in the Citrus Bowl and watching all of spring practice from the sidelines, Jason Allen is ready to show off his playmaking ability.

One of Tennessee's most heralded freshmen, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder graduated from Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High School last December and enrolled at UT in time to join the Vols' Citrus Bowl workouts. He didn't play in the bowl game — it would've cost him a year's eligibility — but he figured the head start would give him an edge when spring practice arrived.

Although a shoulder injury caused him to miss all of spring drills, Allen looked lean, chiseled and ready to go during a weight workout at the UT strength center earlier today.

''My shoulder's doing well,'' he said. ''I'm bench-pressing and everything, feeling real comfortable. I feel like I'll be ready to go (when two-a-days start Aug. 6).''

Rated the top prospect in Alabama last fall, Allen rushed for 1,740 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior. He split time between defensive back and wide receiver during UT's Citrus Bowl preparations, however, and attended meetings with the DBs during spring practice. He believes enrolling early benefited him, even though he was unable to participate in drill work.

''It helped me in the classroom and being able to watch film but it was hard watching the other guys and not being out on the field,'' he said. ''I learned the formations, though, and learned a lot from the other guys. They helped me a lot.''

Asked how he feels about finally getting back on the field, Allen smiled.

''I don't believe I could get any more ready than this,'' he said. ''It's been a big dream for me to play college football, and it's coming here real soon.''

Although Tennessee is looking for depth at receiver, Allen figures he'll play in the secondary this fall.

''They're looking at me as a defensive back,'' he said. ''I'm going to work at free safety and corner but right now I'm concentrating on corner.''


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