CLEMSON — As reporters interviewed Michael Palmer – now with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons – about his standout 2009 season, one of the best ever by a Clemson tight end, he cautioned them.
“These records aren’t going to last long,” Palmer said. “ Dwayne Allen is going to break them all.”
Palmer was right. This fall, Allen authored the best season ever by a Tiger tight end, and it got better Thursday night. Allen won the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end, awarded in Orlando, Fla.
He is the first Clemson player to win the award, and was the first Clemson player to be named as a finalist.
He is the Tigers' first offensive player ever to win a national individual position award, and the third overall. In 1982, Terry Kinard was named as CBS National Defensive Player of the Year. Last year Da’Quan Bowers won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation's top defender, and the Ted Hendricks Award as the top defensive end.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Allen told ESPN. “Ever since I found out there was an award for the nation’s best tight end, it’s been my goal to win it. It’s a great feeling.”
Allen credited the Tigers’ revamped offense and offensive staff for the award, as well.
“We have one of the best head coaches in the country in coach (Dabo) Swinney, the best position coach in coach (Danny) Pearman, and that, with coach (Chad) Morris, made it possible,” he said. “We don’t have just one guy to stop. When you go against our offense, defenses have to worry about four or five guys.”
This season, Allen’s 48 receptions, 577 receiving yards and eight touchdowns are all single-season highs for a Tiger tight end. He is rated by ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay as the top tight end available in the 2012 NFL draft, should he declare. He said Monday that he faces a “very difficult” decision, and will consult with family, friends and coaches over the next month.
Clemson senior defensive end Andre Branch was named as a second-team Walter Camp All-American, his second such honor in two days; he was also named second-team All-America by CBSSports.com Wednesday.
Clemson junior center Dalton Freeman was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's top center. Michigan center David Molk won the award.