Just six months ago, Keenan Allen was in his hometown Greensboro, North Carolina. Still in high school, Allen had just signed his letter of intent to play for the University of California.
Allen had offers from schools all over the country, including National Champion Alabama, where he initially verbally committed. But Allen was convinced that California was the best place for him, mainly because of his half-brother Zach Maynard, who was looking to transfer out of Buffalo.
Once Maynard decided to head west, Allen did, too.
Now, Allen is the hot topic of Berkeley, from message boards to media requests. At 6-foot-3 and 195 lbs, he is already the biggest wide receiver on the team. With blazing speed, Allen is a serious contender to be a regular in the rotation. With only six practices under his belt, he has the makings of a star.
In spite of that, he acts like a veteran off the field.
“I just try to stay away from it,” says Allen, referring to all the hype he has been receiving.
Allen credits junior wideout Marvin Jones with keeping him at bay, and just being his mentor.
“[Jones] is like a big brother to me,” says Allen. “Whenever I need help on routes, he helps me with knowing what to do. He's my roommate [for camp]. He leaves early, and tells me to get up [before the alarm clock]. He's a leader.”
With summer school classes done, Allen already has a taste for what academics are like at Cal.
“[School] was kind of hard,” he added. “We had a lot of work – papers to do all the time. On a daily basis, we had a paper due. It was a lot of work. But I got it done.”
And with school out of the way for a couple of weeks, and his first taste of college under his belt, Allen now can put all of his attention directly into football. With his first two practices in full pads out of the way, Allen already is getting a feel for the physicality of the college game.
“I think I came out, and showed a great deal with what I can do,” says Allen. “I guess I proved myself.”
Who knows? Six months down the road, Allen may be a household name and a budding star.
Not bad for such a quick turnaround.
Practice News & Notes
Junior RB Shane Vereen only dressed with a helmet, and did not take part in the full pads practice. Head Coach Jeff Tedford said that Vereen would start running tomorrow.
In his place, sophomore Isi Sofele got the majority of the reps with the first team in the final team period, while freshman Dasarte Yarnway got the majority of the reps with the second team. Yarnway had a nice run, breaking tackles, for the end zone. But the play was called back due to holding.
Sophomore running back Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson sat out of practice with a concussion.
Junior wide receiver Alex Lagemann sat out with a hamstring injury.
Tedford credited sophomore fullback Eric Stevens with excellent play in the absence of junior fullback Will Kapp (concussion). Stevens had a nice block in the final team period that gave way to a big run by Yarnway.
Tedford also said noted that freshman K Jed Barnett has been doing a nice job with kickoffs, and is currently the backup punter on the depth chart to junior Bryan Anger.
Tedford also noted that the four freshman receivers – Allen, Kaelin Clay, Terrance Montgomery, and Tevin Carter – have done a good job in camp, and are in the mix for the rotation. “As of right now, I would definitely say that those four guys are going to play.”
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