Every elite quarterback covets a great wide receiver (not to say that Oregon’s starting receivers aren’t good enough, because we all saw how well they played last Saturday), cue fresh-off-the-boat true freshman Devon Allen.
The 6-foot-0, 187 pound wide receiver from Brophy Prep High School in Phoenix, Arizona, was also one of the country’s top hurdle and sprint track recruits. And, with that said, Allen isn’t coming to Oregon just for football. Like several of his football teammates, come spring he will be running track at the UO as well.
When Allen was being recruited by Oregon, assistant track and field coach Jamie Cook accompanied head football coach Mark Helfrich to Phoenix. Allen appreciated them coming together because both sports are extremely important to him.
As told to the Register-Guard, “It showed they had a good bond between football and track. I know De’Anthony Thomas, B.J. Kelley and Dior Mathis all run track,” Allen said. “I definitely wasn’t going to go to a school if I couldn’t run track as well.”
During his senior year in high school, the 16th-ranked receiver in the nation (according to Scout.com) tallied 43 receptions for 749 yards, and 9 touchdowns. He also ran for 251 more yards and another 5 trips to the end zone. In November of that year Allen dealt with a high ankle injury and could not play much for the rest of the season. He still managed to average almost 63 receiving yards per game and 18 yards per catch, at Brophy. In his junior season, Allen caught 44 passes for 844 yards and 14 touchdowns plus an additional three rushing touchdowns, which placed him third in conference for receiving yards and scoring.
As for track, Allen claimed the 2012 state titles in the 110 meters and 300 meter hurdles, even while the ankle injury continued to bother him, setting Arizona state records of 13.52 and 36.39, respectively. Needless to say, Allen’s elite speed and athletic skills mesh very well with UO athletics.
Allen told the Register-Guard that the atmosphere at both Hayward Field, where he ran at Nike Nationals in 2010 and 2011, and at Autzen Stadium where he has attended a couple football games, convinced him that Oregon was his best fit. He also mentioned that Oregon running its football team at such a fast pace, made his decision easier since that fast pace is “perfect for somebody like [him]”.
Here are his high school junior year football highlights:
As you can see in the video, Allen is a tough player with good hands and good route-running skills (and that was two years ago). He drives off the line, grabs the ball smoothly and has great footwork down the sideline. On top of that he can also run slants, fades and deep routes with precision.
There’s no doubt that Allen possesses the physicality of a good wide receiver (very similar to Jeff Maehl). With both size and speed he has the tools to take on collegiate cornerbacks, even as a freshman. He exhibits good body control and is adept at timing jump balls. It’s easy to tell he has the real potential to become great. However, his biggest near-term challenge will be to fully learn and understand the playbook, and earn enough practice reps to show he deserves more opportunities on Saturdays.
Yet, his speed provides him the opportunity to stand out among the current wide receivers, and he is already a couple steps faster than any current Oregon receiver, aside from Thomas of course. Allen’s speed makes him a potential true deep threat for the Ducks. Given Marcus Mariota’s strong arm, the two could be a fantastic duo creating even more chaos for opposing offenses.
Keep an eye out for this one. Allen’s speed and skill are primed to tear apart defenses, even more than Oregon is already doing, which quite frankly is hard to believe – but exciting to imagine.
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