Freshman Allen honored for play on offensive line
A bright spot among an ever-changing offensive line was Jack Allen, and Monday the redshirt freshman was honored by being named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America.
Allen, who started five games at left guard and seven games at center in 2012, became the sixth Spartan in the past seven years to be recognized with the honor.
Previous members include kicker Brett Swenson (2006), linebacker Greg Jones (2007), offensive guard Joel Foreman (2008), defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (2009), and defensive end Marcus Rush (2011).
“I simply focused on improving each and every week during the season,” Allen said in a statement.
“As the season progressed, I certainly had a better grasp of the game plan each week, but I also became better prepared mentally to push through each game. In addition to (offensive line) coach (Mark) Staten, the veteran players around me helped a great deal, coaching me up during practices and games. Those guys really helped push me throughout the season.
“Obviously, the biggest challenge for me was adjusting to the speed of the game and developing awareness for what the defensive fronts were trying to do on each play.”
After sophomore center Travis Jackson suffered a season-ending injury, Allen was forced to move from offensive guard to center and became a staple of the offensive line.
Allen logged 925 out of a possible 957 offensive snaps, good for 97 percent and the second-highest amount of total plays among MSU offensive linemen, trailing only senior offensive guard Chris McDonald.
“Motor, motor, motor — that’s the best way to describe Jack Allen,” Staten said in a statement.
“He is an extremely hard worker. Jack brings the tenacity and work ethic daily to the practice field that an offensive lineman needs to become a great player. We can’t wait to have him back for what should be a special sophomore season.”
Allen also was recognized with Freshman All-America honors by Sporting News and CollegeFootballNews.com, as well as being named to ESPN.com and BTN.com’s Big Ten All-Freshman Teams.
MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said Allen’s intellect and positional versatility help to make him an impact player.
“Jack Allen is an extremely versatile player,” Dantonio said in a statement.
“As a red-shirt freshman, Jack transitioned from center to guard, then from guard back to center. He’s athletic, knowledgeable and plays with tremendous toughness. Jack will be an outstanding player on our offensive line for the next three years.”