Marcus Allen is, by all accounts, the heart and soul of the current edition of the Penn State Nittany Lion football team.
Allen, a rising senior, is both a vocal leader and a leader by example. In his junior season, the Maryland native was an All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and helped lead a Penn State defense that featured a bend-but-don’t-break style.
His breakout year was highlighted by a 22-tackle performance in Penn State’s overtime victory over Minnesota and, of course, the field goal block that led the Lions past Ohio State.
Known as one of the top tacklers in the country for his position, Allen has a knack for flying to the ball and making sure ball carriers know when he’s hit them.
Allen’s big personality is matched only by his big play. He led Penn State with 110 tackles last season, 57 of which were unassisted. In addition, he posted six tackles for loss, three pass break ups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
The Upper Marlboro Wise High School product will be expected to do even more in 2017 as the Nittany Lions playoff aspirations may well rest upon the improvement of the defense.
Allen joins Grant Haley and Christian Campbell as seniors in a secondary that will have to find a way to account for the loss of lockdown corner John Reid due to injury. In addition to roaming the secondary, he’ll be asked to play in the box often as a pseudo-linebacker in nickel packages.
If Allen can live up to his lofty expectations in 2017, Penn State may well have an All-American manning their free safety position.