To the surprise of absolutely no one, one of the fastest players in college football is leaving the sport, at least collegiately.
In a statement Wednesday, Devon Allen announced that he will forego his remaining eligibility in order to focus on a professional career in track. The announcement comes three months after the wide receiver qualified for United States Olympics team and finished fifth in at the Rio Games in the 110-meter hurdles.
The announcement also comes nearly two months after he sustained a torn ACL, his second such tear in less than two years.
“I recognize that my success to date has been the result of the contributions of many who have supported me along this journey,” Allen said in a press release. “I wish to express my sincere gratitude to my family, coaches, teammates, school administrators, friends, classmates and all the fans who made competing at Autzen Stadium and Hayward Field some of the most unforgettable experiences I could ever imagine.”
Allen had two more seasons of track eligibility and one more of football. He’s expected to remain enrolled in classes at the university as he embarks on a pro career.
Oregon’s self-inflicted 35-32 loss to Nebraska became retroactively worse Monday when it was revealed speedy wideout Devon Allen has been lost for the year due to an ACL injury, according to a report from Duck Territory.
The injury came on a non-contact play as Allen attempted to cover a punt during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s tilt, and Duck Territory reports Oregon’s medical staff feared an ACL injury at the time.
Allen will be evaluated again Monday, according to the site.
If it is indeed an ACL tear for Allen, that’s the second such injury in less than two calendar years. He first tore an ACL during the Ducks’ Rose Bowl win over Florida State on Jan. 1, 2015.
Head coach Mark Helfrich addressed the injury Sunday by not addressing it.
“We don’t have any confirmations, which obviously is not a good thing,” Helfrich said. “We’re going to have to wait until tomorrow [Monday]. We’ve got some preliminary stuff on a few guys, but nothing concrete.”
Allen has a lot riding on his knees after winning the U.S. trials in the 110-meter hurdles before going on to finish fifth at the Rio Olympics.
The junior has caught 54 passes for 919 yards and eight scores in his career.
Update: The program has confirmed the injury to Allen and offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby.
Oregon’s starting tailback has one of the better nicknames in college football: ‘Rolls’ Royce Freeman.
It’s an apt nickname too, especially after his effort on Saturday night in an 44-26 win over Virginia in which he raced away from the Cavaliers defense like one of his namesake’s cars can usually be found racing away from paparazzi. Freeman finished the night with 21 carries for 207 yards — a healthy 9.9 yards a carry — and two touchdowns.
In a game that was never really in doubt for the Ducks all night, Freeman’s put the finishing touch on it with an 85 yard run near the end of the 3rd quarter that is sure to be a potential Heisman highlight down the road.
Oregon wideout Devon Allen, still fresh from running in the 110 meter hurdles at the Rio Olympic Games, also got into the highlight package with a 77-yard touchdown reception that he celebrated by, you guessed it, hurdling in the end zone. Quarterback Dakota Prukop finished the night with 288 yards and three scores through the air in his most complete game as a starter.
For Virginia, the cross-country flight home will be a long one in which they can ponder their 0-2 start. Bronco Mendenhall’s team did muster a few positives on offense late in the contest but will likely avoid any talk during defensive meetings next week.
Oregon will likely move up slightly in the polls given Saturday’s result to set up an interesting matchup at Nebraska in Week 3.
In the end, Oregon will have to settle for employing just the fifth fastest hurdler on the planet in its wide receiving corps.
Ducks wide receiver Devon Allen secured a fifth place finish in the finals of the 110-meter hurdles at the Rio Olympics on Tuesday night, clocking in at a time of 13.31 seconds. Omar McLeod of Jamaica took gold, the first in the nation’s history. Orlando Ortega of Spain took silver, while Dimitri Bascou of France claimed bronze with a time .07 seconds ahead of Allen’s.
The champion of the 110-meter hurdles at the Olympic Trials, Allen’s Olympic experience was considered a success simply by reaching Tuesday night’s finals. The 21-year-old qualified for the finals in a quote-unquote at-large spot after running a 13.36-second heat in the semifinals.
Allen will now turn his attention to re-joining Oregon’s football team, where he’ll look to improve upon a 9-catch, 94-yard 2015 season compiled while recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in the Ducks’ 2015 Rose Bowl win.
Allen’s teammates rooted him on from their posh meeting room in Eugene.
Simply reaching Rio pushed Allen into an exclusive group of college football players-turned-Olympians, including Jim Thorpe, Bob Hayes, James Jett and Marquise Goodwin.
Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen has flown away from the Ducks for the first part of training camp, but for a very good reason: he’s running in the Olympics.
Allen won the 110-meter hurdles at the Olympic Trails last month on his home track in Eugene, and continued his summer on Monday by running a 13.41 second split, good enough to push him into tomorrow’s semifinals.
Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said Monday the Ducks would watch Allen run as part of a team meeting.
A key player on the Ducks’ football team, Allen’s path to Rio is all the more impressive considering he missed the 2015 track season after tearing his ACL in Oregon’s win over Florida State in the Rose Bowl. He returned to catch nine passes for 94 yards last season. Allen snagged 41 balls for 684 yards and seven touchdowns in his season before the injury.
Allen is still deciding between whether to pursue football or track full-time.
“It’s funny to me that people think Devon can only do one, track or football, long-term,” former track All-American Jordan Kent told Sports Illustrated. There’s no guarantee that if he stopped playing football, he’d be a better hurdler, or if he stopped hurdling, he’d be a better football player. All we know for sure is that right now, doing both is working out well for him.”
Allen will run in the semifinals at 7:40 p.m. ET tomorrow.