Archive for Thursday, June 5, 2003

Cat back signs with Liberty University

Allen’s future may be on defense for Division I AA team

June 5, 2003

Michael Allen made a name for himself on the offensive side of the football during his four years at De Soto High School.

But it's on defense that he will continue his career on the gridiron.

The recent Wildcat graduate is set to travel to Lynchburg, Va., where he will play for Division 1-AA Liberty University.

"I'm not sure what position I'll end up playing," Allen said, "but they're going to start me out at defensive end. That's fine with me. I love defense. I'd rather be the one doing the hitting than the one getting hit."

Although he said the Flames coaching staff would probably teach him to be a stand-up end, Allen said his options were wide open.

The Kaw Valley all-conference selection said they could use him as a goal-line situations or a short-yardage tailback.

"I doubt they will put me there full time," he said of the tailback position, "because they run primarily out of a one-back set. I don't think they see me as that kind of back."

The Flames are also considering playing Allen at defensive tackle, outside linebacker, inside linebacker or tight end.

Allen said he thought the Liberty coaching staff was shocked but impressed with his rare combination of size and speed, something every football team looks for when it sets out to recruit.

His reputation for playing every down was also a strong suit for him in nity to get acclimated to his new surroundings before practice begins Aug. 11.

In the meantime, he is spending his summer throwing hay bales and working out in hopes of melting his 255-pound frame down to 245 for his first day of practice.

Besides lifting weights, Allen is putting himself through some rather rigorous speed workouts.

He will also participate in the MoKan All-Star Football Game June 12 in preparation for the upcoming season.

"I am looking forward to going up against some of the best guys in the Kansas City area," Allen said. "Those other guys will be highly talented, so it should be a lot of fun."

The business management major isn't sure whether he'll redshirt next season. But he said he would carry his work ethic over to the next level to increase his chances of being able to stay with the other players.

The Flames, who were 2-9 last year, are in the middle of a seven-year plan to earn accreditation as a Division 1A football program. In order to do so, they have added a pair of 1A opponents to this year's schedule, followed by additional 1A foes each year until they play a full schedule at that level. Liberty will then pursue acceptance into a 1A conference.

Football will be an important part of Allen's life at Liberty, but so will his academics. After all, he is guaranteed all four years on his scholarship regardless of what happens.

"Their education is outstanding -- beyond belief," he said. "The school has a very good reputation for their education. And the neat part is I get to go to school free."the recruiting process. He recalled playing every down in a total of 12 football games during his high school career.

"I played all seven parts of the game in high school," Allen said. "And I was able to learn a lot about the game of football as a result of it."

The seven parts of the game Allen was talking about were offense, defense, kickoffs, kick off returns, punts, punt returns and extra points.

Allen was equally impressed with Lynchburg and the university when he made an official visit there earlier in the school year. He especially liked the small size and accessibility of the campus.

But it was the attitude of the football program and other sports Liberty University carries that impressed Allen most.

"I just want to work very, very hard and get after it," he said. "That's their philosophy, too. The harder you work, the better you'll be. I know that if I fight and just keep fighting, I'll make it through."

Allen will leave for Lynchburg in mid-July so he has the opportu

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