We are within a week of football season starting, and Zach Allen is number 7 in our Blogger So Dear player countdown. Allen sat out the entire 2013 football season after being ruled ineligible for an off-the-field incident.
The year off seemingly paid big dividends, as Allen converted from an outside linebacker to a "drop" defensive end. His athleticism and explosiveness off the line has been a huge threat in practice. Allen looks to be one of the top players on the defense so far in practice.
During his first two seasons at Wake Allen racked up 39 tackles, a sack, and 2.5 TFL. Last year was shaping up to be a breakout year for him before the suspension.
Allen attended high school in Pahokee, Florida, a school that cranked out former Deacs Alphonso Smith, D.J. Boldin and Antonio Wilson.
Rivals ranked him as the 31st outside linebacker coming out of high school.
During his senior season, Allen accrued 52 tackles, 6 sacks, and an interception before enrolling at Wake Forest the following spring. He was also voted the top student-athlete at Pahokee his final season.
He chose the Deacs over offers from Miami, Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
I thoroughly expect Allen to have one of the more surprising years in the ACC. The drop position perfectly uses his prior position at OLB, as well as his ability to blitz and get to the quarterback.
He lived in the backfield during all of the fall practices, and appears to have come back stronger than ever on the field. It would not surprise me if he cracks an awards list or two at the end of the season in the ACC.