Today marks just three weeks to go before the kickoff of the season, and it is also the featured day for my favorite player on this year's roster
Ricardo Allen - Sr.
Daytona Beach, Florida (Mainland HS)
5'9", 186 pounds
2013 Projection: Starter at Cornerback
He has been called Rico Island, but Ricardo Allen came to Purdue looking to leave his mark from day one. He committed originally as the highly touted "Mainland trio" along with HS teammates Chevin Davis and O.J. Ross. A fourth player, Jonathan Linkenheimer, made them a quartet in Danny Hope's 2010 recruiting class.
Now, four years later, Allen is the only one left. Linkenheimer left Purdue after tearing his ACL as a kickoff specialist and never playing in a game (and is now at Mississippi State. Davis didn't even make it to Purdue, as he failed to qualify academically and never even made it to D-1 ball. Ross played for three years before ending up in this year's supplemental draft after getting kicked off the team.
Allen has been far from a disappointment, however. He has 200 career tackles, 10.5 for loss, two sacks, and seven career interceptions. He holds the Purdue and Big Ten record for interceptions returned for a touchdown with four. Most importantly, he brings a ton of heart to the table. He has been labeled as undersized, but has accepted it as a challenge to work his butt off and prove he can make it.
Ricardo has started at Purdue from day one and if not for some nagging injuries last season he would be a perfect 38 for 38 in starts. He has still played in every game in his career and plays each play like it is his last. Of all the players on the roster, he has the highest individual goals. He should be a contender for all-Big Ten honors, possibly an All-American (Are you going to tell him he can't?), and likely has the best chance of getting drafted of any senior in this year's class.
It has been fun to watch Ricardo Allen for the last three years and his attitude has been one that needs to be infectious. Let's enjoy his final lap and hope it is his best one yet.