11 Jul Preseason Scouting Notes: Matt Allen, OL, Michigan State
Redshirt Senior┃6’3″ 303 lbs┃Hinsdale, IL┃Jan. 7, 1998
An experienced center with a high football IQ who displays mobility, a strong grip, and good hand placement to contribute at a sustainable level
Matt Allen was part of the 2019 Rimington Trophy Watch List and named Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2017. He started 16 games over the past two seasons, with 30 total games played collegiately. His older brother, Brian, currently is a center with the Los Angeles Rams. Allen has been an anchor the past two seasons under Mark Dantonio. The 3-star, 2016 commit has thrived on their inside zone blocking scheme and has displayed quickness to be effective on pulls, reaches and second level blocks.
– Displays good posture, knee bend, and a solid base
– Good hand placement in run and pass. Shows strong latch ability to control and steer man
– Solid core strength to sustain and turn his man to seal off gaps
– Shows good mobility to get to targets on blocks in space and takes a good track on second level blocks
– Keeps head on swivel and looks for work when left uncovered in pass protection
– Good width on his first step on reach and pull blocks
– Good awareness on stunts and blitzes
– Solid anchor ability against bull rushes
– Has a decent ability to reset his hands when his initial strike misses or he needs to regain leverage at the POA
Areas to improve:
– Shows a lack of pop on initial punch, even with elbows and hands in tight
– Not consistent on hand timing, allowing defenders to get to his chest first or swipe away his hands
– Inconsistent utilizing his drag hand
– Struggled a bit on his assigned man with gap exchanges
– High pad level at times
– Lacks strength to drive defender and widen the hole. Mostly stalemates his man
–Suffered left leg injury (2nd half vs Michigan 2018, didn’t return to game; missed next 3 games).
–Suffered right knee injury (4th quarter vs Penn State 2019, didn’t return to game; missed next 4 games).
Allen has the tools to fit in any scheme, but would be best served on a team that is heavy on inside zone and sprinkles in power and counter runs. He’s been a rock in the passing game thanks to his awareness, hand placement, core strength, and strong grip, which could boast well for a team with a young signal caller. His struggles against stronger defenders would place him at a team that relies on the quick passing game and would be beneficial to give him extra help. With injury concerns at both of his legs, he projects as a Day 3 selection, but has Day 2 potential.
What to watch in 2020:
After Dantonio’s surprising resignation in early February, a new coaching staff arrived at East Lansing. Despite the new hires, don’t expect any major changes for Michigan State’s scheme which shouldn’t hinder Allen’s development. The biggest things to watch are if Allen could correct his strike timing, pad level, and add some power to shock defenders. Another key issue is his health. Having missed 7 games already the last two years, a clean slate for 2020 should give him a bit of a boost come the 2021 NFL Draft.