Allen ready to take a step forward in 2010

by - Senior Writer -
Allen is poised to deliver big on his potential in 2010, (Photos: Icon SMI)

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says that redshirt sophomore tight end Dwayne Allen has come a long way since he first arrived on campus in 2008, and pointed to an incident that happened in the West End Zone on Tuesday to back up his statement.

“I was touring somebody through the building yesterday and we passed Dwayne Allen and I said, ‘Hey, this is Dwayne Allen’ and he said, ‘Hey, nice to meet you’. And the guy just made a comment, ‘Man, I’ve been hearing you’re doing great, you’re gonna catch 70 balls this year’. And Dwayne said, ‘Well shoot, all I care about is being 14-0, that’s all I want to hear.’ And, I stopped right there and I said, ‘You just don’t know how far we’ve come’.

“His freshman year, his response would’ve been ’70, that’s it? That’s all? I need 100’. I think we can all agree on that. He’s just mentally come a long way- he’s just about being a great player. He’s bought in to team. He’s been a great example to other guys. He’s trying to be a leader. He don’t say nothing- He was another one of those guys that all you ever did was hear him. Now, you don’t ever him, you just see him. I’m really proud of Dwayne Allen. I don’t think there’s anything that he can’t do at the tight end position. He’s capable of being All American, setting records, and being a great player after Clemson. He’s got a lot of work to do to get there. He’s his only limitation.”

Swinney said that when Allen first arrived, he wasn’t sure this day would ever come.

“He’s really come so far,” Swinney said. “I can’t say enough about the guy. He’s one of those guys that butted heads with us a lot and didn’t know if he was gonna make it- if he was ever going to really truly buy in. He’s just transformed himself. I just can’t give him enough credit. Coach [Danny] Pearman has done a great job with him. He’s really bought into to our support system here- just really trying to develop himself as a complete player, a complete person. “

Allen came to Clemson as the 83rd-rated player in the nation according to, and the No. 3-rated tight end on that list. After redshirting in 2008, he had three touchdown receptions and 10 catches in 2009, and had a big impact on the overtime win at Miami (FL) when he had four catches for 36 yards, playing 39 snaps in the upset.

Allen is poised to deliver big on his potential in 2010, but he said on Wednesday that he stands by his statement to the visitor on Tuesday.

“Of course I have personal goals, but they are personal goals,” he said, declining to name any numbers he has set for himself. “But, I also have my team goals and I want to win 14 games and my team goals trump my personal goals.”

Allen said that playing behind Palmer last season taught him a lot of things, and he knew heading into the spring what he needed to work on to become a complete player.

“Consistency. Being a total player. Just coming in and knowing my assignments,” he said. “Technique- that was the biggest thing. That was the thing that I was like I have to get this right before the season because technique is everything.

“Playing behind Michael, I learned you just have to come to play. The game is more than just physical- there is more to the game than just the physical aspect. There’s a whole other game played mentally and I gotta come physically and mentally ready to play.”

If Allen has a signature moment in his brief Clemson career, it came during last season’s Virginia game when he caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Parker, and with the game being designated as Military Appreciation Day, Allen promptly snapped off a salute to the ROTC members in the area of the end zone.

Allen was flagged for an excessive celebration penalty, a flag that many thought shouldn’t have been thrown, and Allen said he meant no harm by it because he comes from a military family.

“Born and raised in Fayetteville, NC, you get to see the military quite a bit,” he said. “That holds a very special place in my heart. And, it being Military Appreciation Day, I just wanted to show my appreciation, personally, for the military. I really didn’t think I was going to get a flag for it- didn’t feel like I was downing the other team at all.

“I was just showing my appreciation. I heard through the grapevine, that they have that on the NCAA Rules and Regulations tape now. So, no saluting, now. Not unless I get permission from Coach Swinney first.”

Despite losing Palmer to graduation, Allen said that he believes the tight end position can take a step forward in 2010..

“The biggest thing is we have to be consistent with our performance,” he said. “One day we’ll get out here and we’ll be on fire with catching the balls and our blocking and our assignments, and the next day we’ll get out here and we’ll just bust all day. That’s the biggest things, coach isn’t going to put guys out there that don’t know what they’re doing or that don’t know their assignments. So, we just have to get in the playbook and build some consistency.

“I feel like we can get better because there is a lot of experience. I got in there with Mike Palmer. I experienced the team’s ups and downs last year. I know what to look for. I feel like I’m matured. And then I bring my own twist to the position- my own strengths. So, we can be as good, if not better.”

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