September 29, 2011

Allen will walk on in Ann Arbor

Fenton (Mich.) punter Kenny Allen grew up a fan of Michigan. It was that love for the Wolverines that inspired him to chose to walk on in Ann Arbor instead of accepting a scholarship offer from another school.

"I grew up a Michigan fan my whole life," Allen said. "I think just growing up a Michigan fan and being close enough to home was what made be choose the preferred walk on. I wanted to be part of Michigan's tradition."

It was no easy choice to accept a non-scholarship role from Michigan's coaching staff. Other BCS-level schools have told Allen they may be able to offer him a scholarship. PAC-12 member Oregon State was the first to take the plunge, offering Allen earlier this summer. However, he's willing to work to earn scholarship money as a member of the team he grew up cheering for.

"Since they have a lot of scholarship special teams players [currently on the roster], they offered a preferred walk on," he said. "I'm just probably going to redshirt and battle for a scholarship the next year."

According to Allen's punting coach, Chris Sailer, the Wolverines have landed an exceptional prospect, and one who is deserving of scholarship attention. He ranks Allen as the ninth-best senior punter in the nation.

"When he hits a good ball, it's already at the D-1 level," Sailer said. "He's getting great height and great distance, and punting for great net."

If there's one area that Allen needs to improve before he's ready to contribute at the college level, it's in his consistency, according to Sailer. However, that's no surprise for a high school senior.

"If there's a weakness, it would be in his consistency," he said. "It's rare to find a high school senior that's already consistent."

Allen admits that he has room for growth once he hits the college level. With Michigan's coaching, he expects to have a chance to be a major contributor for the Wolverines. According to Sailer, Michigan's special teams coach, Dan Ferrigno, will have a good starting point when Allen enters the program.

"They're getting a gift, really," he said. "He's getting a lot of scholarship interest and would have gotten a lot more if he had not already committed to Michigan."

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