INDIANAPOLIS – Dwayne Allen walked in big company at Clemson, achieving a program milestone in only three seasons on the field.
The Fayetteville, North Carolina native hauled in 93 passes to tie the school reception record by a tight end. Allen was able to do so while starting 33 of 41 contests, including 27 over the last two seasons of his career.
With a chance to break the mark and extend his career, Allen chose to bypass his final season of eligibility to take a shot at the NFL. He is exiting the program with some significant hardware.
The Clemson product this past season became the 11th recipient of the John Mackey Award which recognizes the nation's most outstanding tight end.
Allen had 50 receptions for 598 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011, the third straight season he increased his reception and yardage totals. His career started with a 2008 red-shirt season, and it was a great experience for Allen.
"Leaving my teammates was the most difficult thing about my decision, leaving Clemson," said Allen. "But I'm a fourth-year junior. I've been in the program four years, and I feel like I've garnered enough experience in my three years starting than most guys who were here that are four-year players.
"I don't have any expectations for when I'm going to be taken. Hopefully the team that chooses me needs me and is going to use me in the right way."
Allen joins a list of prominent Mackey Award winners. D.J. Williams of Arkansas won the award in 2010, and successful predecessors who gained the honor and have gone on to NFL success include Aaron Hernandez, Fred Davis, Marcedes Lewis, Heath Miller, Kellen Winslow and Daniel Graham.
"It was a tremendous honor. I was very proud to bring it back to the ACC," said Allen. "Past (ACC) winners being Kellen Winslow Jr. (and) Heath Miller. It was a tremendous honor. Being named the nation's top tight end was definitely one of my goals that I wrote down before the season, but the funny thing about my goals is I don't write my goals down until I get done putting in the body of work in the weight room, conditioning and route running before the season. Whenever that is done, I write down my goals and I put John Mackey on there and I was happy to win it."
Allen was on the field for 890 snaps in 2011, never failing to have fewer than 44 scrimmage plays in a game. He had 765 snaps in 2010, and he was on the field for at least 50 snaps in 21 of his last 27 starts.
Allen set school positional marks in receptions, yards and touchdowns in 2011, and he liked how he was used all season. Of particular note was a formation where he lined up behind the tackle.
"That was the sniffer position," said Allen. "I lined up all over the place. I was out wide. I was in the slot. I was in the backfield. I was backed up beside the quarterback."Actually, I did a little of motioning in the backfield in high school, but this year (2011 at Clemson), Coach (Chad) Morris (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks) brought that different style offense in, that kind of Auburnish-style offense, and he said he was going to make me the most versatile player in the country. I believe he did that, as far as the tight end position."
Allen had multiple receptions in 12 of 14 outings in 2011. In Mackey-type fashion, he had a 54-yard scoring reception against Troy, and he had two scoring receptions in the ACC Championship game against Virginia Tech.
Allen had receptions in 26 of 27 outings during his last two seasons, and he had 21 knockdown blocks as a junior. He sees himself as the type of player who can remain on the field in all situations.
"I'm a complete tight end," said Allen. "I'm a guy that's going to be on the field whether it's first-and-10, third-and-short or fourth-and-forever. I'm not going to come off the field, and I feel like that's an advantage to whatever offense that decides to take me."
Another past winner of the award is former Colts tight end Dallas Clark. Clark won the award in 2002 after his senior season at Iowa, the third year the award was given. He was the top draft pick by Indianapolis in 2003. Clark set the club positional records in receptions (427) and touchdowns (46), while his 4,887 yards rank second to Mackey's Colts record (5,126) for tight ends.
Mackey joined the Colts in 1963 as a second-round pick and played with the club through the 1971 season. He had 320 receptions with the Colts for 38 scores. Mackey passed away on July 6, 2011.
LOOKING AT THE 2012 NFL DRAFT'S TIGHT ENDS
THE LAST FIVE
The last five tight ends drafted by the Colts:
2010: Brody Eldridge, fifth round, Oklahoma
2008: Jacob Tamme, fourth round, Kentucky
2008: Tom Santi, sixth round, Virginia
2004: Ben Hartsock, third round, Ohio State
2003: Dallas Clark, first round, Iowa
THIS YEAR'S DRAFT
An alphabetical list of tight ends expected to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft (*-denotes underclassman):
Dwayne Allen, Clemson*
George Bryan, North Carolina State
Michael Egnew, Missouri
Coby Fleener, Stanford
Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
David Paulson, Oregon
DeAngelo Peterson, LSU
Nick Provo, Syracuse
Note: The content in this story and in the series of draft-eligible players that appears on Colts.com in no way reflects the position of the Indianapolis Colts.