NFL fans are familiarizing themselves with the name Kyle Allen after the second-year player led the Panthers to a 38-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals. He is now best known as Cam Newton’s backup, but is proving he has all the talent needed to play in the NFL. His story is one of perseverance and now he is getting his well-deserved due.
Allen was one of the best recruits in the 2014 class. He was ranked eighth overall by 247sports that year and was the top pocket passer. Among the players ranked higher than him in the recruiting class were Leonard Fournette and Myles Garrett, both of which went on to be first-round picks.
In his career at Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, Allen threw for over 8,000 yards and 86 touchdowns. His play helped him get recruited by virtually every school in the country, including Alabama. When it came time to make his decision Allen chose to go to Texas A&M and play for Kevins Sumlin for his college career.
Texas A&M Aggies
Johnny Manziel had just left campus when Allen entered the fray at Texas A&M. He was used as a freshman in 10 games. Allen passed for 1,322 yards, 16 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 61.5 percent completion. It wasn’t the best start to a career, but Allen certainly showed something to build off of in the coming years.
As a sophomore, Allen also played in 10 games, but threw for 2,210 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 56.5 percent completion. While he probably figured he was the starter, the Aggies played another quarterback that season as well. Kyler Murray was a freshman who played in eight games, passing for 686 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions on 59.5 percent completion.
With neither quarterback feeling comfortable with their situation in College Station, both players elected to transfer. At this point in their careers, saying either would be playing meaningful snaps on Sundays would seem crazy.
Per NCAA rules, Allen sat out one season before being eligible to play at Houston. He started four games for Houston that season before getting benched in favor of Kyle Postma. Allen finished the season with 751 passing yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions on 76.2 percent completion. After the season, Allen surprisingly made the decision to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
While his time in Houston didn’t go as planned, Allen has recently made comments about how his time there helped him develop into a quarterback. This week he now returns to Houston to play the Texans after beating the Cardinals in a homecoming game for him last week.
Allen entered the 2017 NFL Draft without a lot of buzz surrounding his name because of how things finished at both Texas A&M and Houston. He went undrafted, but was signed by the Carolina Panthers following the draft. He was placed on the practice squad for the start of the 2018 season.
As the team’s third-string quarterback, Allen was called up to backup Taylor Heinicke after Cam Newton injured his shoulder, which ultimately cost the quarterback his season. When Heinicke got injured against the Falcons, Allen came in and went 4/4 passing for 38 yards. He made the first start of his career in the regular-season finale against the New Orleans Saints. Allen impressed, going 16/27 passing for 228 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Heading into the 2019 season Allen had moved up to the backup roll, even after the team drafted Will Grier out of West Virginia. Newton was back at quarterback after having surgery to repair his shoulder. After two games this season, Newton’s health couldn’t hold up, as a foot-injury held him out of the third game of the season. It is now being classified as a lifsranc injury, which could keep him out for several weeks. Allen was ready to step in.
Against his former college teammate, Murray, Allen put on a show. He completed 19/26 passes for 261 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on 73.1 percent completion. His play helped the Panthers register the first of the season. With Newton injured, the Panthers can look confidently back to Allen, who is already playing better than he was ever projected to do.
If Newton returns to form from before the shoulder injury, the job in Carolina is his. He didn’t look good in the first two games of the season, but will be given a chance to win his job back once he is healthy. If for some reason he can’t get back to where he was, Allen has already shown that he can lead an NFL team to victory. Newton being back to full health and ability won’t necessarily mean the end for Allen though, as so far he has earned more opportunities, even if that eventually comes with another team.
Allen was at the top of the mountain, entering college football as a top-end recruit. He was knocked down from his perch during his days in college and has come back to play well in the NFL. There are a lot of good stories in the NFL and Allen is one of them. His belief in his talent and his never-give-up attitude landed him a chance in the NFL. Now it could keep him around for a while.
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