I love to watch highlight film and I really love to watch running backs. I don't know why, but I guess it's because great running backs can do so many things for an offense. Hialeah, Fla. running back Armando Allen appears to be one of those types of player. He can run, he can catch, and he can score with the best of them.
What do I like about Allen? I had a lot of film to watch on Allen and I like a lot of things about Armando Allen's game. Some say Allen is 5-11, but I'd say 5-10 is likely more accurate, but Allen's got that body that you know can pack on more weight.
Listed with 4.3 speed, he obviously has plenty of get-up-and-go, but he has those extra things that make a back special. First, he's a true running back, not just a speed guy getting by on his athletic ability. He's a very good runner inside the tackles and a very strong runner despite not being 200-plus pounds. He seems to have excellent vision and finds the crease and he's gone.
He's a hard-charger that runs low to the ground, which I think makes him very effective around the goal line. Some backs run well outside, some run better inside, Allen can do both equally well, as well as move equally well cutting to the right or left.
Allen has those short, choppy, quick feet in traffic that I love to see in a running back. He darts his way through traffic avoiding the big hits, but will also deliver quite a blow when he needs to. I'm very high on Allen's feet. He makes those very sharp but short cuts and explodes out of his cuts, which allows him to never slow down when chewing up yards. He also is a guy who fully understands north-south running. He doesn't waste time dancing around in the backfield and hits the hole very quickly. He thinks end zone more than making the spectacular play and making players miss.
He has excellent speed that the truly great running backs possess. In more than a few clips it was obvious some defensive backs had the angle on Allen to chase him down, only to see them lost in the dust after Allen turned on the jets. He definitely has that home run-hitting speed the Irish have been lacking at halfback since the departure of Julius Jones.
Speaking of Julius Jones, the former Irish great is the guy Allen reminds me the most of. I would say that I think Allen, at least based on this film, appears to be a much more effective runner inside that Jones was coming out of high school. Miami running back Charlie Jones is another player Allen reminds me of, but Allen has that extra gear that Jones doesn't have.
I didn't have a lot of clips of Jones catching the ball, but he definitely seemed more than able, and anytime you can get a guy like Allen in the open field one-on-one with a linebacker, you have to like his chances of winning that battle.
The only question one might have with Allen is his size. Will he be big enough to handle the pounding of 30 carries a game? Julius Jones certainly had it, and Allen appears to be a guy who can easily get up 200 pounds.
When the rankings come out he likely won't be the No. 1 or No. 2 back in the country, most likely because of his size, but I think he's a difference-maker in any offense. He'd be a perfect addition to the three players the Irish signed in the 2006 recruiting class.