After a tremendous showing at the NFL combine, Whitworth College tight end Michael Allan has transformed himself from little-known Division III athlete into a viable NFL prospect. Active.com spoke with him to get his thoughts on life at a small college and what it's like to read your own player profile on ESPN.
Mel Kiper gave you some love on SportsCenter as a high-value pick in the draft. That must have been pretty cool.
Yeah I saw that. My buddy called me from Spokane and told me to turn it on. Not often you hear your name on SportsCenter.
How does a kid who didn't make his high school all-star team turn into an NFL prospect?
(Laughs) I don't know. A lot of it is physical maturation. I was kind of an awkward athlete coming out of high school. Six-four, 190 and running a five-flat (40-yard dash). I grew into my body halfway through college. I always knew how to play the game. Once my body matured I was able to do it cleanly.
What made you choose Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash.?
It was a smaller school I knew I could play in but also, when I visited the school I felt really comfortable. It was a really good fit for me. D-I is not for everybody.
According to many of the draft boards one of your strengths is your hands. Is that something you worked on or did that come naturally?
I feel like it's natural. I played a lot of baseball so my eye-hand coordination was pretty good.
I've always wondered if players like yourself ever check out those profiles the so-called draft experts write about you?
When I was in New Jersey I went on ESPN and I read my weaknesses and I got pissed! (Laughs) So I sort of stayed away from all that stuff for a long time. But now as it gets closer, and I realize this experience isn't going to happen to me again, I'm starting to look at that draft stuff again and enjoying the process.
As one of the few legitimate Division III NFL prospects do you feel a responsibility to represent other athletes at smaller schools who don't get as much attention as you did?
I hope this is what my experience does. I've seen some D-III athletes who are capable of doing more if they were only given a chance. I don't feel like D-III gets all the credit it deserves, so hopefully my story opens up a few more eyes.
What was the combine like?
A meat-market! It was a lot of fun and a great experience. But it's up at 6 a.m., in bed by 11 p.m. You're getting interviewed and poked at. You're going through tests. It's all necessary, but it's really just four days of walking around like cattle.
You did extremely well at the combine. What kind of preparation did you do for it?
I spent four weeks in New Jersey at Parisi Speed School, which my agent set up. There were 20 of us there. We got on specific diets and were working out twice a day, isolating ourselves to work on training for the combine specifically. And obviously it ended up paying off.
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