Allen talks about the moment that changed his life


by - Senior Writer -
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VT's Bud Foster called Dwayne Allen the best player in the ACC, but without his high school coach he might have never made it to Clemson.

CLEMSON – It was the moment that forever changed, and eventually defined, the life of Clemson tight end Dwayne AllenDwayne Allen
RS Jr. Tight End
#83 6-3, 255
Fayetteville, NC

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Allen was a freshman at Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, N.C., doing what thousands of teenagers do each day in thousands of high school hallways – heading toward the gym and having fun with his friends.

His life, up to that point, had been a study in a young man trying to find his way in the world and instead of finding his way, finding trouble instead.

“I was always in trouble growing up. In and out of ISS [in school suspension] and always suspended from school,” Allen told TigerNet earlier this week. “I didn’t even attend a regular middle school. I had to attend an alternative school because I got kicked out of the public school. Each year during middle school it happened and I got kicked out. In sixth grade it was before the end of basketball season; in seventh grade I was out before basketball even started; and in eighth grade I was out before the second game of basketball season. It was really a story of no one giving me a chance.”

Basketball helped ease some of the pressure and give him a much-needed outlet.

“I got picked up on a local AAU team in basketball, and went down to Cocoa Beach and won a national championship in basketball,” he said. “Everybody thought I was going to the NBA back then. That was a lot of fun. I went down there and won that national championship after my eighth grade year. But I came back to public school, and high school started off the same old way – I was getting into trouble. I wasn’t a bad kid; I was just the class clown. And whenever a teacher interfered with me being the class clown, I would throw a fit.”

It was early in his freshman year that the moment happened; a moment he admits changed his life forever, even though he wouldn’t know it at the time.

Terry Sanford High School had a new football coach in Wayne Inman, a coach who was always on the lookout for new talent, looked out and saw the strapping Allen.

“His [Inman] office was right on the hallway,” Allen said. “He saw me walk by, and jumped up out of his chair and asked me what my name was and if I played football. I was like, ‘Nah, I’m a basketball player.’ He said ‘Well son, with your size I feel like you can be a really good football player’ and I was like ‘Nah, whatever.’

“He disappeared and I started walking back towards the gym, and he came back out and was like, ‘Where are you going?’ He had ten dollars in his hand. He looks at me, and he says, ‘You can do whatever you want with this ten dollars, but if you take this ten and go get a physical, I will see you at football practice on Monday.’ And he handed me the ten dollars.”

Allen said he was floored, and couldn’t believe that someone had actually taken the time to seek him out and tell him he had possibilities.

“It was amazing just having someone to really believe in me for the first time,” he said. “I took that ten dollars and got the physical and I went out to practice. I wish that was the end of the story, but it wasn’t.”

Inman may have thought his work was done in getting Allen to come out to practice, a young man who told anybody and everybody that would listen that he didn’t want to play football. But Inman’s work was just beginning.

“From a school standpoint, Coach Inman had to come to my classes every day,” Allen said. “Make sure Dwayne was awake in class. Make sure Dwayne was answering questions. Make sure Dwayne was in class. Every day he walked by my classes to make sure I was there, If I was asleep, he would come in and sit down beside me and wake me up and make me raise my hand for questions. He made me answer questions. He taught me everything.”

It wasn’t long before Allen caught the eye of college recruiters, and he ended his high school career with 68 receptions for 1,257 yards, a whopping 18.5 yards per catch. He became an ESPN Top 100 player, and eventually chose Clemson over Florida St., Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

At Clemson it has taken time for Allen to gain the maturity to develop and flourish, and he is currently in the midst of a breakout season – he already has 18 receptions for 291 yards and four touchdowns.

He says it all goes back to the day a new coach took a chance on a young man who needed just that chance.

“Coach [Dabo] Swinney says I am really reaping the rewards of all that hard work,” Allen said. “I say it is the hard work and Coach Inman, and he still comes to all of my games. He didn’t have to do what he did, but he did.”


Allen is listed by many as the No. 1 draft-eligible tight end in the nation, and he says if the day ever comes that he gets a chance to walk on the stage with the NFL Commissioner during the draft, there is no doubt who will share the stage with him.

“Coach Inman would be on the stage with me,” he said. He is my dad, a definite father figure. He stepped in when I needed him, and I really don’t know where I would be right now. It wouldn’t be in Clemson. It was him, and it was so many people that God has allowed them to touch me and my life.”

One moment, a moment that began a new chapter in Allen’s life.

“It was a great moment, and the story isn’t finished yet,” he says. “I still have two years here, and hopefully I can write the end of the chapter after next season.”

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Subject (Replies: 36) Author
Front Page Story: Allen talks about the moment that changed his life
B-Meist®
best thing I've read on this board in a while...
franc1968®
Coach Dabo is one of those Coach Inmans, too . . . imo.***
Rocky the Tiger®
But isn't the $10 an illegal benefit?***
clemsonbean
only if you buy extra desserts
FLTiger87®
Re: But isn't the $10 an illegal benefit?***
Dugatiger®
Which doctor gives physicals for $10?***
Razzmatazz
Re: Which doctor gives physicals for $10?***
76clemson
Re: But isn't the $10 an illegal benefit?***
tigrbybirth
I like the part about "next season". ****
72 Fla. Tiger
Me too
nkickha
Implies that he'll be at Clemson next year
ClemBert®
I knew Allen was a great player but...
CloerTiger
This kind of story is much more common...
franc1968®
"I still have two years here"
ATigersL®
Wasn't it Allen's HS coach who
tigrjm76®
YES IT WAS
under11par®
Re: Front Page Story: Allen talks about the moment that changed his life
dannyfan1981
Allen talks about the moment that changed his life
starrjam1
See...coaches are very important..from motivation to success
lightbulbbill®
Great Write-up!
ALL IN Tiger 888
Reminds of the day Bowden was fired...
franc1968®
TB rebuilt CU, but this isn't Rice, Duke, Vandy, etc.
deleted
Great story!***
Razzmatazz
Great story! Glad we have high school coaches like Inman.***
Orange®
Re: Front Page Story: Allen talks about the moment that changed his life
Colorguy®
I'm glad he got his life turned around, but it makes me so
AllTimeClemson
I don't think you can assume they or anyone else
cu1981fans
Bowers and Allen are self admitted cases of motivation, or
deleted
Re: Front Page Story: Allen talks about the moment that changed his life
PaulaCat
Re: Front Page Story: Allen talks about the moment that changed his life
sspassport®
Was he raised by is mom or grand parents? Clearly he lacked
deleted
ACC POTY.
SammyDub
He only has 18 catches? Seems like a lot more...must just
thecatch1977
I disagree
durangotiger
Re: I disagree
GREATIGER
Re: Front Page Story: Allen talks about the moment that changed his life
EHSTIGER

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