Dec. 27, 2016
Jon Cooper | The Good Word –
Marcus Allen is good at following a recipe.
Let’s just say it runs in the family.
His father, David Christopher Allen, is a chef at the prestigious Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton, located about three miles from where Georgia Tech will stay as it prepares for its Dec. 31 TaxSlayer Bowl showdown with the University of Kentucky. Caribbean-style chicken and rice is one of the senior Allen’s specialties and the favorite of Marcus, a fifth-year senior B-back for the Yellow Jackets.
Marcus doesn’t necessarily share his dad’s culinary wizardry but he has made his mark by following a very different recipe — the recipe for success.
He’s followed it his entire Georgia Tech playing career, taking snaps at three different positions, on both sides of the ball, and on the academic side, graduating earlier this month with a degree in industrial engineering. He is on the fast-track to making it in the real world in supply chain, analytics or logistics.
Since arriving on The Flats in the fall of 2012, Allen’s played linebacker, moved to B-back, tried his hand at wide receiver then finally settled back in at B-back, where he’s played the last two seasons. Juggling positions and sides of the ball didn’t faze Allen. He did it at Hilliard Middle-Senior High School, about 30 miles from Jacksonville, and expected to be utilized wherever head coach Paul Johnson needed him.
“I came in as an athlete. They told me I could play a few different positions and apparently I got the chance to do all of those,” he said, with a laugh. “It all worked out. I came back to B-back and I felt really comfortable with it. I really enjoyed my time in the B-back room. There were a lot of great guys in that room and I really enjoyed being in there.”
In 24 games (the TaxSlayer Bowl will be No. 25), Allen has 44 carries for 202 yards (4.3 yards per rush), with a long of 17 yards, a touchdown run that closed the scoring in last season’s 65-10 rout of Tulane at Bobby Dodd Stadium. He’s scored twice — the 17-yarder vs. the Green Wave and a four-yard burst to open the scoring in a 23-21 loss to Virginia Tech on Nov. 12 of last season, which was part of a career-best 75-yard rushing day. He’s also caught a pass and made two tackles in his versatile career.
Having set many of his numerical milestones in home games — there’s no way to record the number of blocks he’s made to create holes for his backfield mates — Allen is looking to have one more big game on Saturday at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field. It’s a home game for him even if it’s a neutral-site game for Georgia Tech.
“It’s really exciting, especially to be playing back in Florida, close to my hometown in the Jacksonville area,” he said. “I live 30 minutes outside of Jacksonville, so a lot of people from my family and hometown will be able to come out and see me play my last college game.”
It’s his turn to visit the family, reciprocating the trip they made to Atlanta on Dec. 16 to see Marcus graduate.
“Pretty much my immediate family was there — my mom and my brothers,” said Allen, one of six siblings. “I think I had about eight or nine people.”
The walk across the stage at McCamish Pavilion to receive his diploma was a moment he considers the pinnacle of his college career — even topping his second opportunity to make the walk to attack the hedges in Athens 20 days earlier.
“Definitely walking across the stage,” he said when asked which was sweeter. “That was a lot of work and a lot of effort and it felt great to feel that weight lifted off my shoulders to be done with college and now moving on to my next step in life.”
Before he takes that step he has one game left in his college football career — one last opportunity to take the field for the Yellow Jackets. He wants to make the most of it and have as many of his friends and family to see it as possible.
“I’m trying to get as many tickets as I can,” he said, breaking into a smile. “There are a lot of guys [on the team] from that area already [and] t’s a great place to travel to, so a lot of people on the team want to have their family go.”
The preparation to play Kentucky isn’t the only prep he’ll be doing, however.
“I actually have a couple of interviews coming up so I have to get prepared for those,” he said. “It’s not really distracting. Since school’s done I have a lot more time before and after practice to focus on studying for my interviews. It’s working out fine. Hopefully they turn out well for me.”
Of course, the trip to Jacksonville is not going to be all work. Allen is looking forward to the home part of this “home” game. That means spending time with the family, and, ideally, indulging on a plate of the Caribbean-style chicken and rice, with some room left for dessert.
“It’s going to be great. I’ll love to get some time with my dad,” he said. “We’ll probably watch some movies and talk football. It’ll be good times.”