Nate Allen, FS/2006-2009
I never thought about Nate Allen on the football field, and I mean that in the most respectful way possible. I worry about possible mismatches on both sides of the ball, so I thought about players like Tyller Roberts and Jerome Murphy a lot more than Nate. I thought about Nate once or twice during the 2007 Auburn win, but after he picked off Brandon Cox in the endzone, I knew that we had the next great USF safety, following J.R. Reed and Anthony Henry.
Allen came to USF as a QB recruit from Cape Coral, but decided that he wanted to get on the field as soon as possible, and became the understudy to Danny Verpaele in 2006. After grabbing the starting job his sophomore season, all you ever needed to know about Nate Allen is that he would make a big play for you in the biggest games possible. Whether it was the Auburn interception, his fumble recovery and runback against West Virginia that same year, or the pick that brought us to the brink of victory against Kansas in 2008, he did what needed to be done so USF could come away with a victory.
Nate Allen 2007 USF Football Highlights (via BadAssBull)
Ed note: There is another Nate video here but the language is NSFW
For his career, Nate Allen intercepted nine passes, had 224 total tackles with five coming for a loss, 12 pass breakups, four fumble recoveries, and three career touchdowns. More important though, was Allen's mastery of Wally Burnham's defense scheme and where everyone needed to be at all times. He was THE coach on the field getting everyone set up, calling audibles, and making sure everyone was in a position to succeed.
After Nate's four great years at USF, he was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of this year's NFL Draft, and right now he's in position to start on opening day this year. It will be great to see Nate's picture during team introductions on Sundays with USF under his name, but I'm really going to miss seeing number 5 play center field for us. Not only will I miss seeing Nate make big play after big play for us, but I know that I'll have to start worrying about another person this season.