PSU DB getting his dream job
By Stephen Flinn
For the Mirror
PITTSBURGH — Penn State safety Marcus Allen sat anxiously with family on Saturday afternoon watching the NFL draft.
When his name was called in the fifth round (No. 148 overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he could not have been happier. Allen is a life-long Steelers fan and his family is from Pittsburgh.
“Everybody was anxious waiting to see where I would go. I’m coming home. That’s why I’m so happy. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s all tears of joy,” Allen said. “I grew up a Steelers fan. I still have Steelers gear in my room. I just grabbed a [Steelers] hat from my night stand and put it on.”
Allen realizes now that football is not a pastime but an occupation and he is ready to get to work.
“This is a perfect situation. I’ll be working on every aspect of my game from tackling, covering, and creating turnovers,” he said. “This is my job now so I’ll be working my butt off.”
He credits his career at Penn State with helping him continue to play football at an NFL level.
“I felt like Penn State was a brotherhood. Everybody bought into the coaches plan and everything clicked,” Allen said. “I also became more mature and grew into a man.”
Allen was only the sixth player at Penn State to make over 300 career tackles. His 321 tackles ranks fifth in school history. He was a team captain and earned first team all-Big Ten honors last season. He had 13 tackles in the win against Pitt.
Even though the Steelers drafted a safety in the first round, general manager Kevin Colbert still felt comfortable with picking Allen when he came available. Head coach Mike Tomlin concurred outside the Steelers war room following the draft.
“To have (Marcus Allen) available at that time was an easy pick for us,” Tomlin said. “The safeties can help us in a number of ways. When you start putting DB’s down in the box, these guys can help there. Some roles bleed together in the sub-packages.”
Steelers defensive backs coach and former Penn State assistant Tom Bradley was also happy with having two new defensive backs to coach. He was very familiar with Allen before the draft.
“By bringing in another safety, it gives us some versatility in the secondary,” Bradley said. “(Allen) got on our radar pretty fast. He was coached by Terry Smith at Gateway High School, he has local ties, his father is from Westinghouse. He started 45 games at Penn State.”
Bradley feels Allen has what it takes to excel at the NFL level with his size and knack for the football.
“He’s a big safety. He’s very physical. He’s a big-time tackler. That’s probably the best part of his game,” Bradley said. “He’s always around the ball. He can do a lot of things for us. He’s a fundamental football player. We’re excited to have him.”