TAMPA – Linebacker Thomas Allen hasn’t had much time to sit still, but the future Indiana Hoosier and current Plant Panther is destined for big things after moving seven times over the last 10 years. The rising senior says the experience has been great all the way around.
The 6’3″, 230-pounder grew up in Indiana before moving to Tennessee, Iowa, Arkansas, Mississippi and most recently Florida last year. He’ll be living with his grandparents this summer once his mom joins his dad, Tom Allen, the Indiana defensive coordinator in a couple of weeks.
“It’s different but it will be fun,” Allen said about living with his grandparents. “They never got to see me play football much because they’ve been in Pennsylvania.”
Graduating in December, Allen started both his freshman and sophomore seasons in Mississipi at Oxford High School before coming over to Plant last year.
He says he’s noticed that offenses throw the ball a lot more in Florida than Mississippi and the overall speed here is a big deal.
Allen played both middle and outside linebacker last season posting 98 tackles (42 tackles for a loss), six sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. This year, he’ll be the man in the middle for the Panthers calling the signals. At Oxford, he combined for 227 tackles, interception, fumble recovery in two seasons.
On June 1, Allen chose Indiana over his other top offers Rutgers and Colorado State. He was recruited to play middle linebacker.
Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Navy, Air Force, South Florida, South Alabama, Bowling Green, Florida International and Southern Miss were the other offers on his plate.
— Thomas Allen (@TheTrain44) June 1, 2016
Allen says Indiana was recruiting him before his dad got the defensive coordinator job in January and once the Hoosiers hired him everything was a big deal.
Tom Allen served in the same position at South Florida last season and Ole Miss, Arkansas State, Lambuth University and Wabash College previously.
Prior to high school, Allen played quarterback. He started at the age 7 in Indiana and says he moved to linebacker with current Louisiana Tech quarterback Jack Abraham the clear cut starter at Oxford. Allen admits that the linebacker world is better for him anyway.
Playing as the quarterback of the defense is something Allen loves especially after being on the opposite end of the line picking apart defenses. He says it’s been big to have his dad during his transition to linebacker.
Towards the end of middle school is when Allen figured out he could be a legitimate football player.
“I was always small and then I grew a lot going into seventh grade. I thought ‘as long as I work hard this might actually work.'”
In terms of his biggest strengths, he says that is his leadership, length, physicality, athleticness and passion for the game.
Learning the game more and more is something he strives to do. He says you can always be learning.
Fitting right in at Plant
Allen calls 13th-year Plant head coach Robert Weiner an awesome guy. The highly successful coach Weiner has led the Panthers to four state championships (2006, 2008, 2009 2011). Plant finished 9-3 last season falling in the 7A region semifinal to Lakeland.
“He [Weiner] tells us with recruiting to just be as great as you can for the Plant Panthers, then everything works itself out. He’s a fiery guy and really gets after you. He loves you at the same time.”
Allen says his junior season and first year at Plant was truly great.
“We didn’t get to where we wanted to but it awesome with everyone. We had a great spring. I love Plant. It was a big deal to stay here. Everything with them is first class.”
The Panthers are loaded with playmakers on both sides of the ball. One of those guys is 6’5″, 245-pound defensive end Judge Culpepper (18″), a player Allen describes as a “big boy.”
“It’s awesome to play with him. It makes your life whole lot easier when you have guys like that in front of you. Going up against him when he plays tight end is fun as well as besides him when he’s at defensive end.”
Allen calls his dad his biggest role model without a doubt.
“I love how he’s a godly man. He works to get everything that he has had to. It’s awesome to see where he’s gone.”
As for Allen’s ultimate goal, he would love to make it to the NFL. He says it’s awesome to get his college education paid for free.
On top of that, he wants to coach and do what his dad does one day. Allen plans to study sports management and marketing at Indiana.
This kid is both lengthy and not afraid to mix it up. In the spring jamboree against Robinson and Jefferson, he nearly had an interception against the Knights.
Thomas Allen has an NFL makeup in terms of his body and mind. I like his chances to be something special at the next level and beyond. Plant is lucky to have him for another season as he aims to help the Panthers win their first state title since 2011.
Favorite players to watch – Luke Kuechly, Christian McCaffrey, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning
Playlist before games – Christian Gospel music
Favorite movies – God’s Not Dead, Star Wars series, Marvel movies
Favorite TV shows – SportsCenter, NCIS, The O’Reilly Factor
Fun fact about you that no one knows – “I love math. I like the whole numbers part and figuring out equations. I’m taking AP Calculus this year.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “Little Tommy”
Game film: Allen’s Hudl tape
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Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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