Watching football from so many angles, several injuries have us hoping a player’s alright, but it seems likely. Sometimes we have absolutely no idea if that’s the case. Then there are the ones where the news is going to be bad and we know it, it’s just a question of the severity. You know, the ones that cause an immediate cringe. In 2012, Taariq Allen suffered one of the latter.
The opening kickoff to Nebraska football’s clash against Michigan started innocently enough. It ended with Allen on the ground, screaming in pain with a torn ACL.
Thanks to advances in sports medicine, the concept of torn ligaments is akin to hearing about a three-year-old’s scraped knee now. It happens, athletes heal and they come back. After seeing what happened to Allen, “torn ACL” didn’t seem to fit. I thought he wouldn’t play any meaningful minutes ever again.
2013 was a quiet season. He wasn’t on the field for every play, but he participated much to my encouragement. With spring practice halfway done, Allen looks 100 percent again. If he continues to improve at the pace he has, I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t lock down a starting spot.
One thing that Nebraska had in 2013 was a quiet receiver who simply went out and produced. That was Quincy Enunwa. He had more receiving yards than anyone, at least three times as many touchdowns and seemed to do all of it under the radar. Yes, he was appreciated, but he didn’t have the spotlight that Kenny Bell did and will again this season.
Watching Allen this spring, his ability to haul in circus catches is nothing short of mind-blowing. It’s fair to say that he has the capacity to help bail out the Big Red’s youthful quarterbacks thanks to moves that rival the late Bruce Lee’s on occasion. At 6’3″, 200 pounds, he shares Enunwa’s height, but the now-departed receiver had a good 25 pounds on No. 7.
While Eunuwa boxed out receivers in 2013, Allen’s speed off the line and ability to baffle defensive backs should earn him those same touchdowns. There’s also the matter of Allen’s serious hops.
A suggestion for a player to watch during this year’s Red-White Spring Game: pick Allen and get your popcorn ready.