Like so many kids, Madison County’s Aldreakis “Al” Allen would talk with his buddies at school about playing in the NFL. Like so few, Allen has a real chance of making that happen.
Allen will attend a rookie mini-camp for the Indianapolis Colts Thursday through Sunday, where he’ll compete for a chance to attend the team’s summer camp. Ultimately, Allen dreams not just of making the team, but of being the starting running back, a spot currently held by Trent Richardson.
“I would always talk about it to my buddies,” said Allen of playing in the NFL. “We’d come back to school after recreation ball games and talk about going pro. It was a dream I always had.”
The 2009 Madison County High School graduate talked this week about how much Madison County coaches helped him.
“Having guys like Coach (Chris) Smith, Coach (Wayne) McCarty and Coach (Jamie) Sims really helped me,” said Allen. “Thanks to all the Madison County coaches.”
Allen, a Big South All-Conference Team running back for Liberty University, has come back recently to work out with Coach Smith, who says the former Raider standout was always a remarkable player.
“We always knew he was a special athlete,” said Smith. “He’s got great hands, ran great routes and was good in the backfield running the football. We tried to get him the football.”
Smith said he knows Allen is pumped up for the chance to make a dream come true.
“He’s excited about this opportunity,” said the coach. “He’s ready to get after it.
Allen said he wasn’t sure if he was going to get the call. He was at his agent’s house in Charlotte during the NFL draft. But the phone wasn’t ringing.
“As soon as I was getting ready to leave, it (the call) came,” said Allen.
The running back says he savors the chance.
“I’m ready to go out there and prove myself,” said Allen, who has been working out in Duluth with Chip Smith, who trains pro athletes, to be in tip-top shape.
“He really understands the mechanics of the human body,” said Allen. “I’ve been working my butt off.”
Allen said he had a calf injury that kept him off the field in 2013.
“I had an injury to my calf and it was a little more severe than what we thought,” he said.
But Allen said he felt like he had a good showing at a March 4 “Pro Day,” where he was able to show off his strength and speed. He said the calf felt fine.
Allen thanked his mom and stepdad for helping him “understand how to be a man and overcome obstacles.” He said that if the opportunity with the Colts doesn’t pan out, he’ll keep fighting for a career in professional football.
“I’m going to continue the game,” he said. “I don’t care where I play. I just want to go out there and do it.”
A look at Al Allen:
As a junior with the Liberty University Flames, Allen was named to the Big South All-Conference Team, VaSID All-State First Team, twice named Big South Offensive Player of the Week, led the team with 1,019 yards rushing on 160 carries and 10 touchdowns (6.4 yards per carry), finished second in the Big South and 26th nationally with 101.9 rushing yards per game. Allen also ranked second in the conference in rushing touchdowns and third in all-purpose yards per game. He also added 24 receptions for 160 yards and one receiving touchdown. Allen was the ninth player in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and seventh player in school history to rush for 10 touchdowns in season. Also as a junior at Liberty, Al Allen posted four 100-yard games, in addition to games of 94, 97 and 99 rushing yards. He also rushed for 127 yards on 22 carries and caught a touchdown pass during his season debut against Norfolk State. On October 6th of that year, Allen also showed his ability to pass by throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass against Gardner Webb.
Allen’s best performance in 2012 came against Presbyterian College when he scored four touchdowns and rushed for 183 yards on 13 carries. Including in his junior season, was a 179 yard rushing performance and three touchdowns against Charleston Southern on November 3rd. He capped off his junior season with 99 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns at VMI on November 12th.
In his sophomore season in 2011, Allen led the team with 613 yards, finishing second with eight rushing touchdowns, was ranked number three in the Big South in touchdowns scored and number four in overall scoring. Over the final five games of the season, Allen ran for 507 yards on 89 carries and scored six touchdowns. Allen had his sophomore break-out game against Charleston Southern when he rushed for 126 yards on 16 carries. In that same season, he totaled at that time, a career high 131 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns against Presbyterian.
Allen led the the Flames as a freshman with 530 yards rushing and nine rushing touchdowns. Also his 530 rushing yards in 2009, ranked him third in program history among freshman rushers. He was two-time Big South Freshman of the week and was the conference’s leading freshman scorer with 54 points. His best performance as a freshman came against West Virginia Wesleyan when he posted a season-best 112 yards on 10 carries.
While wearing the red and gray at Madison County, Allen was three time All-Region 8-AAAA first team wide receiver, recipient of the Madison County High School Best Offensive Receiver Award his last three years, was first team all-state Class AAAA at wide receiver as a sophomore and finished his career with 133 receptions for 2,252 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns.
Allen is the son of Angela Willingham and majored in Exercise Science while at Liberty University.