Here's the second installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall.
Last spring was breakout time for Allen, who has played very little during his first three years in Lawrence but finally stopped thinking so much and began playing on instincts.
If what he showed in March and April carries over into the 2014 season, that's good news for the KU secondary, which already features some of the team's top talent but would stand to gain some serious depth if Allen can become a player.
After jumping back and forth between cornerback and safety during his first few seasons in town, Allen spent most of his time this spring playing nickel back, which seems to be the perfect spot for a guy with his blend of size, speed, athleticism and power.
Simply put, Allen is the type of athlete that most of the other rosters in the Big 12 are full of. He has yet to make that count during his time as a Jayhawk, but the New Orleans native who went to high school in Houston seems finally to be ready mentally to not only play a big role but also prove he can play at this level.
Allen's development is a luxury for the Jayhawks. They don't absolutely need him to pan out, but doing so would tighten up the defensive backfield, which has a real chance to be one of the best secondaries in the Big 12 this fall.
KU coach Charlie Weis said at the end of spring ball that Allen had played so well that he was pushing senior JaCorey Shepherd for reps with the first string at nickel. If that holds, Allen would create depth at nickel and also allow Weis and company to use Shepherd as a back-up at either cornerback spot should the need arise.
Credit defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, as well as DB coaches Dave Campo and Scott Vestal for creating a defensive scheme that allows Allen to use his natural abilities and just play.
It's probably either this year or never for Allen and the signs from the spring point to him finally putting his stamp on the KU program.
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