Just like Dwayne Allen a year ago, Nuk Hopkins looks to be ready for NFL jump

The Clemson Sports Blog

Dwayne Allen, tight end for the NFL Indianapolis Colts, tells members of the media 'one more year' for former teammate Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, after his press conference in West end zone in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Dwayne Allen, tight end for the NFL Indianapolis Colts, tells members of the media "one more year" for former teammate Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, after his press conference in West end zone in Clemson.

Nothing is ever certain when it involves the NFL draft.

Dwayne Allen found that out last season when he submitted his paperwork for evaluation and was given a first-round grade, only to wait through two rounds before being selected early in the third by the Indianapolis Colts.

Things worked out well for Allen, who earlier this week was named to his third NFL All-Rookie team after setting a franchise record for receptions by a first-year tight end.

"It ended up being a blessing, because I ended up playing with one of the best quarterbacks - the best quarterback - this year's draft," said Allen, referring to former Stanford star Andrew Luck.

While Allen was on hand on Wednesday for Tajh Boyd's announcement that he'll return to Clemson for his senior season, his own story intersects most directly with that of DeAndre Hopkins, who on Thursday announced that he, like Allen did a year ago, will leave after his junior season for the NFL.

Allen said that at the end of last season, he felt "I had reached a certain point that I felt like I wasn't really going to get any better."

Ready physically and mentally for the rigors of the NFL, Allen tossed his hat into the ring and never looked back - attacking his new job, as Michael Vick told Boyd, "full throttle."

"It's like I told the local media up there (in Indianapolis) - I didn't leave school early to be a backup tight end," Allen said. "I left school to go be that guy. The Colts' organization blessed me with the opportunity to go out and play every Sunday and not just take the bus."

Hopkins, coming off an off-season in which he improved his strength and became a more physical layer, and a season in which he broke Clemson records for receiving yardage and touchdown receptions, looks to be ready, as well.

How much would Hopkins be likely to improve had he chosen to return to Clemson?

Allen said his own readiness for the NFL is a testament to Dabo Swinney's program at Clemson.

"I think the success I've had speaks to the program we have here at Clemson," Allen said. "Coach Swinney and his staff do a great job of preparing players to go play at the next level.

"When I made my decision last year, Coach Swinney came to me and said 'Dwayne, I think you're doing the right thing. I hate to see you go, but I think it's the right thing not only for you, but for your career.'

"Coach (Danny) Pearman prepared me for anything I was going to face in the NFL. I'm just an example of that."

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Comments » 1

lhaselden writes:

I have to commend our strength and conditioning staff for the work they are doing getting these guys prepared for the NFL. I hope over the next couple of years that we will begin to have NFL ready OL something we have been missing.

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