In 2014, Buck Allen built on the foundation he laid in his 2013 MVP season, nearly doubling his production in his first full season of work on his way to a first team All-Pac-12 selection.
Should he stay or should he go?
The case for leaving:
Allen is a running back, and of all positions on the football field, running back has the shortest shelf life. There is only so much wear and tear a back can take and Allen took his fair share of contact in 2014. Noticeably slowed in the final few games of the year, the upkeep of his body alone could make the decision.
Beyond that, Allen is not a young player. Having already turned 19 as an incoming freshman, the now redshirt junior is 23 years old. For comparison, graduating senior Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah turned 21 over the summer. If age is a marker, Allen has already reached the physical maturity level required for the professional league.
Then there is the on the field consideration. Allen was among the best running backs in the conference in 2014. He proved 2013 was no fluke by doubling his yardage total on the year.
Nov 13, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tailback Javorius Allen (37) carries the ball against the California Golden Bears at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The case for staying:
With premiere running backs like Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley and Ameer Abdullah available for the 2015 draft, Allen will likely find himself on the outside of the first two rounds.
Though he has proven himself a capable back, he is ranked as the ninth player at his position by CBS Sports and the 82nd player overall. A third round selection may be the highest possibility for Allen. Even then, with the continuing devaluation of running backs in the draft, he could conceivably slip even lower.
Nor is he the complete package just yet. Between some fumbling issues and the noticeably drop off at the end of the year, Allen could do with another year of mastering his craft. Establishing himself as one of the top running backs in the nation, not just the conference, could propel him into next year’s draft with much more momentum.
What the scouts say:
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah had this to say about Allen back in September: “USC running back Javorius Allen came on halfway through last season and I don’t know if people around the country have really caught on to how good he is.” He added later that Allen could be a three-down back in the NFL.
Rob Rang from CBS Sports praised Allen’s “high-cut frame and a gliding, deceptively powerful running style.” He also noted that Allen is capable of contributing in other facets of the game as a blocker and a receiver.
Walter Football noted Allen is “a physical back who has a nice burst” and “has strength to him to pick up yards after contact” but worried about his ball-security. They project he would thrive in a zone-blocking scheme.
What should Buck Allen decide?
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