Walk through the members of the Wisconsin Badgers during Sunday's football media day and the adjectives describing true freshman defensive tackle Beau Allen were as impressive as his bruised biceps. Talk to his defensive line teammates, the words describing him is simpler: he can contribute this season.
"He's looking pretty good," redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jordan Kohout said of Allen. "He's so physical advanced in terms of his body type and athleticism. He's go big and so quick for how big he is. I think he's coming along nicely."
With Wisconsin graduating four senior defensive tackles from a unit that ranked tops in run defense, allowing only 88.2 yards per game, finding able bodies to help keep that number consistent was priority one for Defensive Line Coach Charlie Partridge. Through the opening week of fall camp, Allen, who measured it at 6-foot-3 and 325 pounds, has shown that he's ready to go.
"(Beau has) been very impressive through fall camp," Head Coach Bret Bielema said. "He's got to get rid of some habits are naturally ingrained in him, but he's doing a good job of buying in what we do at d-tackle. Hopefully he'll be able to contribute a significant amount."
Through the opening seven practices, Allen has been rotating at tackle with true freshman Kyle Costigan, walk-on redshirt freshman Ethan Hemer and sophomore Eriks Briedis. With Kohout sidelined for a week with a knee injury, Allen has worked with way to the top line, being paired with junior Patrick Butrym.
"He's advanced for his age," Partridge said of Allen. "His suddenness, his quickness combined with his size for a kid just coming out of high school is definitely more advanced than you see out of most. What he's figuring out right now is that you can't step out of place a couple of inches or you aren't going to be successful on the play. He is taking the right steps to get better in those areas."
Those steps started for Allen when he arrived on campus and finally got to work with Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Herbert. Meshing with Herbert during the recruiting process, Allen, in just a few weeks working with him, started to feel his shoulders and legs strength and his clothes start to fit different.
"I loved it. We did some great stuff, football-related stuff that I have never really done before," Allen, who feels he gained roughly 10 pounds to increase his weight to 325. "I made some good gains, and I feel stronger and faster. I feel like I've made some adjustments, but there is still stuff I need to work on. I am hoping to keep improving."
Allen posted team-high 89 tackles (65 solo), 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks as a senior at Minnetonka High School outside Minneapolis, making him high coveted by schools like Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Notre Dame.
But the roots his family had with the university and the state helped sway him towards Wisconsin's defensive line. Allen's father, Matt, and his mother, Susie, are both Madison graduates, his grandfather, Fred T. Westphal, was six-time All-American swimmer at UW in the late 50s and a charter inductee into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame while his uncle, John Westphal, was two-year letterwinner in football at UW from 1980-81.
"When family members have a positive experience here," said Partridge, "it certainly gives you a chance with the young man because he's been talked to his whole life about how great this place is."
With those memories fresh in his ear, Allen has made sure to stop at Mickey's Dairy Bar (a famous Madison breakfast restaurant right near the stadium) and State Street, perhaps even sled down Bascom Hill in the winter like his father. His next plan, with the strong support of his family, is to play in Wisconsin's senior opener at UNLV September 4.
"I feel good, I feel strong and I feel fast," Allen said. "One of my goals was to play early and to hear my name being mentioned acts as good positive motivation. It keeps me going and lets me know what I have to do and how I have to keep working."