James Durrant, UteZone

For Brian Allen, Utah has been a transformative experience

Senior cornerback Brian Allen has grown tremendously during his time at Utah. He talks about his four years as a Ute.

Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Senior Brian Allen is a testament to that having come to Utah as a bright-eyed wide receiver who had never really been outside of Texas to now leaving the program as a cornerback coming into his own. A position change is hardly the only thing that has changed for Allen though since coming to the Utes five years earlier.

Just this summer Allen welcomed his first child- a daughter named A’mya with his wife, Paula. “It’s me taking on a lot more responsibility,” Allen said of his family. “As me being a senior, being a father has made me a humbler person. With my wife, she supports me with whatever I do. My baby girl keeps me up at night, but those guys are who really motivate me to come out here and do what I do everyday.”

What Allen has been doing everyday is competing with and learning from probably one of the best defensive backfields Utah has had in recent memory. “I tell a lot of people that Dominique Hatfield- he’s younger than me- he came in the year after me but I still have learned a lot from him,” Allen said of his teammate. “You know I’ve learned a lot from Reggie [Porter]. Those are guys that have played the position longer than me but we come out here and push each other. At the end of practice we are all competing to get out there and play but at the end of the day it’s a brotherhood.”

While Allen has come a long way from his days as a receiver with the AFG (Air Force Gang) the transition was not an easy one for him. “I hated it. I mean coming from high school I hadn’t played any defense at all,” Allen said. “I didn’t know how to tackle, I didn’t know how to do anything on the defensive side but now in two and half seasons working with Coach Shah and Coach Scalley after practice everyday, I feel like it’s coming naturally to me now and I love playing defense. I feel like I’ve been playing it forever.”

Helping Allen get the hang of the defensive side of the ball were former teammates and current NFL players Keith McGill and Eric Rowe, who like Allen are bigger bodies holding down the island. “Keith McGill was here and I would talk to him. To this day I still text with Eric Rowe and he’d let me know how to transition,” he said of his relationship with the two NFLers. “Just to go in and work everyday and it will come natural to you. Till this day we still talk and there are a bunch of guys who have made that transition easy for me.”

Perhaps no one has had as big of an impact on Allen’s transition than his position coach Sharrieff Shah though. “He told me that ‘you can do anything you put your mind to because you know when I first made the transition he was on me hard,” Allen said of his coach. “Every day screaming and yelling and it started to get to me at first and I thought I would never pick it up but after sitting down and talking to him he was like, ‘You just really don’t realize your gifts.' He was like ‘When you start to realize to use your gifts, you can actually make the transition a lot easier for you.’ With him telling me that it motivated me to be the best corner I can be everyday.”

And while that transition was not the easiest thing in the world for Allen it’s probably what he cherishes most about his time with the Utes. “My favorite memory would probably be all of the things I had to go through- transitioning from receiver, and making it to corner,” he said. “Coming out here working and getting my teammates to just be with me through the whole thing because a lot of them knew it was rough for me. Just being in Utah and getting to experience a new way of life because before I came I had never really been outside of Texas. Just being here was an experience in and of itself. Seeing the mountains and everything. I just love it. I haven’t been home in almost two years so I feel like it’s a home away from home now.”

Allen’s next ambition after finishing his career at Utah is to try and make it in the NFL. If that doesn’t work out, he’s graduating with a BA in Economics and would be happy to keep his family in Utah where A’mya’s “uncles” can help keep an eye on her. “If you ask Marcus Williams, every time I see my little girl I call her Stinker Butt because when she was a baby she used to poop everywhere,” Allen said. “Nowadays everybody sees my daughter and they know who she is. Sometimes we all play video games together and she’s screaming through the headset. Everybody knows who she is and just knowing my teammates have my back and love my child, I mean I wouldn’t mind none of them watching my child. I feel like it’s just a big family.”

Before Allen steps out of Rice Eccles for the last time he wants to make sure fans know he gave the Utes every ounce of his being. “I feel like Utah has the best fans in the world so like they say, ‘Once a Ute, always a Ute’,” he said with pride. “The fans are great. I just want them to know I came out here, worked my butt off everyday and I gave it all I have for this program. I just want to go out as one of the greatest corners to come through Utah and I just want them to know I gave it all I had.”

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