I had the distinct pleasure of sitting in for my esteemed colleague Gary Davenport on Tuesday night’s edition of Kellogg’s Komments where we had the extraordinary opportunity to interview three very intriguing 2013 NFL Draft prospects.
California WR Keenan Allen, North, Carolina State CB David Amerson and Northern Illinois OLB Tyrone Clark were all kind enough to enlighten us on a variety of topics as they approach this new chapter in each of their respective careers.
If not for a late season PCL injury that caused him to miss the season’s final three games Keenan Allen would be the number one wide receiver on every teams draft board. The injury would keep Allen from participating in the NFL Combine drills but he did attend the festivities and measured in at 6’ 2” and 206 lbs.
, WR, California
When asked what he anticipated his forty time would be at his upcoming pro day (April 9th), Allen responded that he thought he’d put up “…in the 4.4s or low 4.5s on a bad day’.”
Allen has been working out in Boca Raton, Florida with Tony Villani at XPE Sports five days a week in preparation for his Pro Day and stated that his concentration has been focused on his lower body strength and increasing his speed.
Having played running back as a youngster when asked about some of his favorite players growing up Allen mentioned fantasy football icons Marshall Faulk and Terrell Davis. After making the transition to wide receiver Allen commented that some of his favorite players were Chad Johnson, Anquan Boldin and Calvin Johnson.
Allen spoke very fondly of the support his family has given him throughout his football career, especially his stepfather whom he said that he would give the football from his first NFL touchdown to. He also mentioned the lasting impact that his coach in a ‘mites’ league for 10-year olds had on his development over the years.
When asked to elaborate on why an NFL team should draft him, you could hear the passion in his voice as Allen stated that he is a ‘football guy,’ loves the game and has a dedication to becoming the best there is and a commitment to keep improving at his craft.
When pressed to pick whom his toughest opponent was while at California and how he fared against him, he chose Washington CB Desmond Trufant. I guess that was a compliment but it was also the game that Allen chose as his most memorable while at Cal. Allen had 10 catches for 197 yards that included a 92-yard touchdown reception and another twenty yards on two carries. I’m assuming Trufant wouldn’t consider it one of his favorite college memories.
Allen also had the unique chance to play his final two years at Cal with his half-brother Zach Maynard as the starting quarterback. When pressed to reveal something about Zach that no one would know, it was touching to hear Keenan reveal that his older brother is ‘the toughest guy I know.’ He spoke to not only the beating Zach took on the field as a starting college quarterback but also how he was tough outside of football as well when handling adversity off the field.
Allen attributes his successful career at California, he’s the all-time receptions leader (205), third in yards receiving (2,570) and seventh in TDs (17), to his work ethic, route running and commitment to always improving at his craft. As to what aspect of his multifaceted game got his juices flowing the most, Allen surprisingly answered that it was the chance to line up in the ‘wildcat’ formation and throw the ball (he was 3/3/52 with one TD throwing the ball at Cal) and he loves to blow up a defender with a block to spring a teammate for a score. He attributed being a successful blocker to being “a want to” guy that is willing to make that block.
He also feels that his rehab from the knee injury is on track to have him ready to post an impressive forty-yard dash time next month. In what little spare time he has these days he stated that he enjoys music as well as playing video games (mainly sports games with some Call of Duty thrown in) and hopes to pursue something in the music industry when his football days are over.
Allen’s advice to high school juniors who would like to make it in the college game was very simple and direct. Keep your priorities straight and remain dedicated and focused on what you are trying to accomplish and avoid distractions.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Allen’s forty time may go a long way in establishing his place on some NFL teams’ draft boards but even should it be slower than he anticipates I don’t see him dropping out of the first round. He is a quality route runner with exceptional run-after-the catch skills who has been compared to Reggie Wayne.