USC running back Buck Allen has made his decision, opting to forgo his senior season and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Tallahassee native announced the move on USC’s website on Saturday, giving a statement.
"This was a tough decision for me. I went home to Florida and talked it over with my family. I am proud to have been the first one in my family to have gone to college, and I’ve been blessed to say I played football in college. Now I’m ready to take it to the next level. Every kid dreams of this moment."
After a junior year that saw him amass 1,489 rushing yards and earned him Heisman Trophy consideration, Allen’s decision to enter the level is a sound one for a couple of reasons.
At 23-years-old, he’s not getting any younger. This past season was the first year in which Allen was a full-time starter for an entire campaign, and the effect on his body was evident towards the later part of the year.
With the running back position having such a reduced shelf life as it is, the more tread on the tires the better, and had Allen stayed for his senior season, he wouldn’t be able to play in his first regular season NFL game until he was 25-years-old. That’s ancient as far as a rookie running back goes.
Furthermore, Allen had a stellar 2014 season that saw him develop into arguably the best running back in the Pac-12.
With Tre Madden returning next season, along with the progression of Justin Davis and the arrival of three freshmen, it seems unlikely that his production would get better as a senior.
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Currently, Allen is ranked as the ninth best running back prospect in the draft class by CBSSports, with a second to third round grade.
Allen finishes his college career ranked 14th on the Trojans’ all-time rushing list with 2,263 rushing yards. All but 137 of those yards came in his final 19 games.
That stretch of games are some of the most prolific in USC history, as Allen had at least 100 yards from scrimmage in 18 of them. The lone outlier? An 84 total yard performance vs. Stanford last fall, in which he contributed a key first quarter touchdown run in the Trojans’ upset win over the No. 4 ranked Cardinal.
Without Allen, USC’s backfield in 2015 will rely on the unknown. Can Madden stay healthy? Will Davis be able to carry the load? Which freshmen will step up?