He was probably asked the question enough, but until Saturday Devon Allen had yet to publicly display his ability on a football field. The individual known for his performances in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles was constantly asked about the give and take between both football and track, and finally had the opportunity to show why he was a four star wide receiver recruit coming out of high school to begin with.
Two touchdown catches and 94 yards receiving later, it seems logical to state that Allen passed his first exam in a college football uniform. Streaking down the field, being used in the rushing attack, running jet sweeps across the field and showing Mark Helfrich his toughness, the redshirt freshman provided a undeniable factor in Team “Mariasu’s” 27-7 win over Team “Twifo.”
“Devon Allen came up huge today,” Marcus Mariota said.
Playing in front of a roaring stadium with just under 40,000 fans, Allen was in a far different setting than he is typically used to. However, the nerves quickly subsided and he quickly made an impact in the game.
“I was kind of nervous when I went out there for the opening kickoff but after the first drive I kind of calmed down and started playing football like I’m used to,” Allen said.
The six-foot, 190-pound wide receiver made his imprint early on when a broken play left him streaking across the backside of the field wide open. Mariota found him for what would be a 45-yard touchdown reception.
“We practice scramble drills and he was able to implement what we do in practice into the game and that’s huge to see out of someone like him as young as he is to have his head on a swivel and recognize that,” Mariota said.
Allen’s speed -he ran a wind-aid 10.55 in the 100-meter at the Oregon Relays- was clear, however it transitioning from a pure track standpoint remained a question throughout the spring. Evident in the game, Mark Helfrich now is starting to see a level of toughness and quickness off the line that he and the rest of the coaching staff is working towards.
“He’s getting track speed out on the football field and we love tough track guys,” Helfrich said. “There’s that perception that a track guy is a soft guy and that’s absolutely not the case if they’re the right guy. He’s a tough dude and he’s been outstanding. ”
Used in the jet sweep two times, Allen amassed 9 rushing yards as well. His final highlight came on the final play of the game when he caught a Damion Hobbs pass and then eluded a defender for a 49 yard receiving touchdown. Used somewhat everywhere, it could be a glimpse into how the Ducks use him in the fall and for his time in a Ducks uniform.
“In high school I did jet sweeps and was in the backfield a little bit and I ran as wide receiver,” Allen said.”I’m comfortable and can do whatever they need me to do back there.”
And as it has gone for the dual-sport athlete, Allen will pick up right where he left off on the Track on Monday and prepare for the Oregon Twilight meet this week and the Pac-12 Championships, which begin May 17.
“I’ll still do lifting and conditioning with the football team in the morning,” Allen said. “I’m excited I get to run against Ashton Eaton at the Twilight meet so I’m pretty pumped about that. And with the Pac-12 Championships I want to help contribute to the team just like how I do in football.”
It’s definitely a different schedule than the normal athlete possesses, but as Allen continues to display, his athleticism expands not just to one platform of competition.
Follow Justin Wise on Twitter @JWISE25