Kentucky's Allen On Football Path: "It's A Long Story"

Josh Allen was an all-state wide receiver in high school. He is now a projected first-round draft pick – at linebacker

Zach Gelb
December 17, 2018 - 10:45 am

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In high school, Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen was a 2-star recruit who spent most of his prep career at wide receiver. Now he’s projected as one of the top picks in the NFL Draft.

Funny how things work out sometimes.

“It’s quite a long story,” Allen said on The Zach Gelb Show, laughing. “I’m from New Jersey, then I moved to Alabama for my freshman to junior year of high school and played football there. All-State receiver. Never played defense a day of my life. Then I happened to move back to Jersey to get closer to home, and the first day there, the coaches were like, ‘You look like a defensive end. We’re going to make you a defensive end. We want to try you there.’”

So they did – and Allen flourished.

“The first scrimmage we had, I fell in love with it,” he said. “I fell in love with the position. One play I’ll never forget, they did a jet-sweep and I just tackled the jet – twice. Big hits, big tackles. From there on, it was just like, ‘This is for me.’”

Allen led the state of New Jersey in sacks as a senior before making his way to Lexington. He is a projected first-round draft pick – and a top-10 pick, according to some mocks.

“I’m glad to see my name up there,” Allen said. “I never had recognition like I’m having today. I’m really truly blessed and truly honored just to be a part of that list. I know it’s not final – it could change anytime, any day. But that’s my ultimate goal. I’m really focused on the next day: how am I going to get better for myself, for my team and for my family?”

Allen, who had 14.0 sacks this season, will lead No. 14 Kentucky (9-3) against No. 12 Penn State (9-3) in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.