Allen intercepted 17 passes over the last two years of an All-American high school career, but the 79 touchdowns (53 as a senior) he scored on offense during those years convinced Cal coaches to utilize him on that side of the ball when he arrived in Berkeley. He repaid those coaches for their confidence in his ability as a playmaker, starting nine games and becoming the team’s second-leading receiver in his first season on campus. Allen racked up 120 of his season-total 490 yards in the opener against UC-Davis and eventually set a school record for freshmen with 46 receptions (beating Philadelphia Eagles star receiver DeSean Jackson’s 38). He also returned 18 kickoffs for a 22.6-yard average.
Other teams’ coaches also showed they were impressed with Allen’s game by naming him first-team all-conference in 2011. He ranked in the top ten nationally in receptions (98) and receiving yards (1,343) including a strong 13-catch, 160-yard effort against USC. Allen scored six times on the year to increase his career touchdown total to 11. Injuries and poor quarterback play marred Allen’s 2012 season. He missed 2012 spring practices after having surgery on his ankle from an off-season basketball injury, and missed the final three games with a knee issue. Even though Cal struggled to get the ball into his hands (61 catches, 737 yards, 6 TDs), when Allen was on the field in 2012, he was as big, fast, and imposing a target as ever, and he was awarded as an Honorable Mention Pac-12 selection.
Long-legged, reliable No. 1 receiver prospect. Runs solid slants, crossers, speed outs and vertical routes. Good height to win jump balls downfield, will attack the ball in the air with his hands and has good ball skills overall. Lines up in the slot regularly, can get off press with a quick shake at the line and uses his frame to block out smaller corners. Eats up ground quickly on his vertical stems. Agile and physical ball carrier after the catch, can make the first man miss with a quick cut or spin away from tackle attempts, maintaining his balance to continue downfield. Also runs through smaller corners to pick up a few extra yards. Gets down quickly for low throws despite his height. Aware receiver who uses his hands to create space from defenders downfield and gives his quarterback a target when in scramble mode. Good hip flexibility, as he sinks low into his routes and bursts out of the break.
Has strider’s speed that is good enough to threaten defenses down the sideline but is not elite in this category. Allows some passes into his body when facing the quarterback. Has the occasional drop when extending away from his frame or tracking over his shoulder, but bounces back quickly. Does not utilize his size or length as a run blocker, does not execute cut blocks and at times fails to hit a target. Development as a receiver was held back, as his quarterback could only comfortably attack a few portions of the field.
A smooth outside pass-catcher, Allen has the height, speed and ability to win jump balls required of a No. 1 target in the NFL; the first-team All-Pac 12 pick in 2011 caught most of his 98 passes for 1,343 yards and 11 scores in 2011 from lefty quarterback Zach Maynard, who happens to be his half-brother. Maynards play regressed in 2012, however, causing Allens production to fall off his junior season. He still displayed all the same skills and talents he showcased during his uber-productive sophomore season, and he figures to go in the top 25 selections if his knee and ankle check out medically.