Austin Allen had hoped to hear his name called during the 2022 NFL Draft, but instead quickly signed an undrafted free agent deal with the New York Giants following the final round on Saturday.
Let’s get to work New York!! Blessed to be a Giant.
— Austin Allen (@austin11allen) April 30, 2022
The 6-foot-8, 253-pound Aurora native turned in a record-breaking season this year for the Huskers, racking up 38 receptions for 602 yards and two touchdowns. He set records for most receiving yards in a game by a tight end with 143 against Wisconsin, most receptions in a season by a tight end, most receiving yards in a season by a tight end and most 100-yard receiving games in a single season by a tight end with two.
The Big Ten recognized Allen’s efforts by naming him its Tight End of the Year and an All-Big Ten performer (second-team by the coaches, first-team by the media). He led all Big Ten tight ends in receiving yards during the regular season and was 13th nationally. His 15.8 yards-per-reception average also led all Big Ten tight ends and was sixth nationally. He also served as a team captain.
“He’s our leader and he’s really, really done a great job of showcasing his abilities and what he’s done since I got here to where he is right now,” tight ends coach Sean Beckton said in November. “He’s worked extremely hard on his game every summer. He’s worked on his flexibility, he’s worked on his strength. He just looks like a different kid playing out there. He’s playing with a lot more confidence. You watch him warm up. His passion when he warms up is basically infectious. Those other guys kind of feed off him and gravitate toward what he’s doing.”
After redshirting his first year in Lincoln, the Aurora native continued to build up his body and polish his skills over the next two seasons, working his way up the depth chart and developing his leadership skills. He caught two passes for 54 yards as a redshirt freshman then started five games and caught seven passes for 83 yards as a sophomore.
When Jack Stoll went down with an injury in the 2020 season opener, Allen stepped up and emerged as a go-to target on offense, logins seven starts and finishing second on the team with 18 receptions for 236 yards and a touchdown.
“Last season I knew, long-term, that a captain is what I wanted to be,” Allen told Hail Varsity last summer. “It was very unfortunate Jack got a knee injury; that just kind of expedited the process a little bit of the leadership that I needed to take in the offense.”
In his four seasons and 44 games as a Huskers, he accumulated 65 receptions for 975 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 15.0 yards per reception for his career. After redshirting that first season, he did not miss a game the rest of his career, logging 24 starts.
Allen had one more season of eligibility remaining at Nebraska because of the COVID-19 eligibility freeze in 2020 but he announced on Nov. 23 that he intended to enter the draft.
Allen participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl following the season before earning an invitation to the NFL Combine. He ran a 4.83-second 40-yard dash, jumped 34 inches in the vertical and 10-foot-1 in the broad jump and produced a seven-second 3-cone and a 4.26-second 20-yard shuttle.
Allen chose to sit on his combine testing results as he opted out of most of the testing at Nebraska’s pro day and focused on position drills in front of the NFL scouts.
“People want to see me get a little more mass on me, a little more muscle,” Allen said at Nebraska’s pro day. “But I knew that, I knew that coming in. When they asked me ‘what do you want to change?’ I said just work out harder and put a little weight on. They don’t really tell you an idea of where they’re goin to pick you or if if they’re going to pick you. They keep that kind of close to themselves and within their organizations. So I don’t get an idea where I’m going to go, but I think today went well and it only helped.”
Here’s to the weekend! #NFLDraft2022 pic.twitter.com/X0oYSduDjC
— Austin Allen (@austin11allen) April 27, 2022
After originally thinking basketball would be his future, Allen went all in on football during his junior year of high school and that decision paid off, first with a scholarship offer from Nebraska and now with his NFL draft dreams coming true.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.