Today we’re kicking off our annual top ten preseason football players of 2016 as voted on by the BSD staff. In creating this list, we considered players’ ability, value to the team, and past performance, among other factors. We start our countdown with number 10 on our list, junior safety Marcus Allen.
How He Got Here:
Allen, the godson of former Pitt Panther, New England Patriot and New York Jet running back Curtis “My Favorite” Martin, was the number six prospect in Maryland coming out of high school (according to 247 Sports), and was rated a four-star recruit by Scout and a three-star by ESPN and Rivals. After receiving offers from Arizona, Clemson, Stanford and several Big Ten schools including Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Nebraska, Allen committed to Penn State in May 2013. He was recruited to the Nittany Lions by the greatest offensive mind since Jay Paterno, John Donovan.
Allen appeared in all 13 games as a true freshman, starting seven, including his debut against No. 1 Ohio State. He led the team with 11 tackles against the Buckeyes, and went on to finish third on the team with 58 stops, as well as recording three pass breakups, and a sack.
Last season, Allen finished second with 81 tackles, but struggled a bit in pass coverage in several games. Nonetheless, he has developed a reputation for being an excellent tackler and hard hitter, as he forced two fumbles and registered another sack in 2015.
What To Expect in 2016:
Allen returns as one of the leaders of the secondary, with fellow junior Grant Haley, sophomore John Reid, and fifth year senior Malik Golden as the presumed other starters. The depth is plentiful behind Allen and Co., but the experience is not, meaning that he and the rest of the starters will have to set the tone on and off the field in order for the defense to reach their potential. Good news is, Allen seems to be a fan of new position coach, Tim Banks. Reid’s solid cover skills were on display last year, giving Allen an opportunity to beat up on receivers, Ed Reed/Troy Polamalu-style. This is where he is at his best-in zone help over the top, delivering hard hits to receivers daring to go deep or traverse the middle of the field. I predict Allen will get at least two interceptions, and will again be in the top three on the team in tackles.