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Why Alex Allen stayed at UNI for 5 years and didn’t enter the transfer portal
Tight end was rewarded with his first career touchdown catch last week
CEDAR FALLS — As the business of college football continues to grow, there are some things within the game that are not business related, but will always be an important part of the game.
For Northern Iowa tight end Alex Allen, it’s the football brotherhood.
The fifth-year senior from Nixa, Mo., is part of an ever-declining group of college athletes who, despite a lack of playing time, stayed true to his original commitment rather than join the new majority in the transfer portal.
“I think it’s just the guys I came in with my freshman year. We’re a very close class with each other,” Allen said. “Just battling out there with your brothers — I wouldn’t want it any other way. Being there with the guys you’ve been friends with for four or five years, I think making memories with those guys is even more fun than going to another place and having success for only like a year with some guys that you really haven’t gotten to spend some true time with and grow with them.”
Allen’s mindset is a breath of fresh air in a sport that looks less and less amateur with each passing season. It’s also a mindset that’s been paying off on the field this year.
In last week’s loss to Sacramento State, he hauled in a 17-yard touchdown catch, the first of his career.
“It was good to finally get one. I’ve been dreaming about scoring in the UNI-Dome since the day I signed here and then got here,” Allen said. “It was awesome to see the hard work pay off.”
Through three games Allen has reeled in five catches for 77 yards and said co-offensive coordinators Ryan Clanton and Bodie Reeder want the tight end to be a part of their new scheme’s passing game.
Head coach Mark Farley also has taken notice of Allen, and said there’s a lot more to come this season from the Missouri native.
“You couldn’t be happier for him with how he’s performing,” Farley said. “He had to build his strength up here. He’s always been a technician. He got on the field because he always knew he was in position to make the play, now he’s strong enough and big enough to be a productive player. Because of his hard work his results are coming.”
While the touchdown catch last week was a great accomplishment, Allen and his teammates are focused on a quick turnaround after an 0-3 start to their season.
The Panthers (0-3, 0-1) reenter Missouri Valley Football Conference play this Saturday at 3 p.m at Western Illinois (0-3), and given what’s left on their schedule, it’s a must-win game against the Leathernecks.
“Starting out 0-3 is kind of a tough spot to be in, but when we’re looking back at it it’s a lot of errors that we have made ourselves that have cost us the games,” Allen said. “We have a really good team, but we just can’t shoot ourselves in the foot like we’ve been doing.”