The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

John Allen: The man in the trenches

Haley Dupre
John Allen (No. 55) sets of for the play during SLU’s dominant 48-14 victory over Murray State last season at Strawberry Stadium. (Oct. 1, 2022 – Hammond)

John Allen is Southeastern’s star offensive lineman from Jackson, Mississippi. After playing guard for his entire career at SLU, Allen will return to play center for the 2023 season. 

According to Southeastern Athletics, Offensive Line Coach A.J. Hopp said, “John has been our emergency center since he’s been here, so he’s very comfortable at that position. Two weeks into camp he’s really hit a groove and looks like the player we saw on tape when we recruited him at center. He’s a natural leader and communicates very well.” 

The position isn’t anything new for him, as he played center throughout his high school years and in junior college. The Mississippi native was named to the 2023 Athlon Sports Preseason All-America Team — he is the only player from the Southland Conference to do so. 

The center position and offensive line as a whole can easily get overlooked in a sport in which media outlets give the most attention to skill-position players. However, they are the engine of the offense. They protect the quarterback and open up lanes for running backs. These bruisers use their strength and brute force to push opposing defenders out of the way to give the offense a chance to be successful on a play-by-play basis. As center, Allen is the anchor of the OL.

This is not an ideal situation for many people, but for Allen, it is something he loves the most. He embraces the contact when most people might shy away from it. 

Allen’s journey to becoming All-Athlon started back in his hometown at Forest Hill High School, where he played on both the offensive and defensive line. After graduating from FHHS, he spent his freshman year at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. 

After an excellent debut season, he earned First-Team All-MACJC. In 2020, he transferred to the Green and Gold, but because of Covid, the football season was cut short. Despite the conditions, he still played in five games and started two games at right guard.

“I love the physicality and getting the opportunity to go at people. That’s what I enjoy most,” Allen said. 

In 2021, Allen started all 13 games at left guard and earned second-team All-Southland honors along with the SLC All-Academic team. He played a crucial role in Southeastern’s offense last season. The Lions went 9-4 and ranked second in third-down percentage, fifth in fourth-down conversion percentage, first in completion percentage, second in passing offense, first in scoring offense, second in total offense and fourth in rushing offense. 

During a game versus Southland rival Northwestern State University on Nov. 13, 2021, a viral video of Allen showed him holding a block for nearly 40 yards; a clip of the spectacle eclipsed over a million views on social media. The footage shows off Allen’s impressive strength and perseverance.  

His 2021 campaign landed him on the All-Southland Conference Second Team. He was not content with just excelling on the field, but Allen also dedicated a lot of his time off the field to his studies. He made the 2021 and 2022 Southland Conference All-Academic Teams with a 3.12 GPA. 

Allen was also named to the 2022 Southland Commissioner’s Fall Academic Honor Roll with a 3.0 GPA. To round out his academic awards, he joined the 2022 Stats Perform All-America. Allen’s dedication to his academic studies is a testament to his discipline and dedication. His hard work shines both on and off the gridiron. 

“I’m just trying to stay ahead of my school work and not let the work pile up, especially during the season. You can tire yourself out and not want to do work, so I try not to miss simple assignments,” Allen said. 

To add to his awards, Allen was named Southland Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2022. He also joined the 2022 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coaches’ All-America Second Team while being featured on the SLC First Team. 

Last season, the Green and Gold had the third-ranked rushing offense in the Southland, primarily due to their top-notch offensive line. SLU totaled 2,582 rushing yards (first), 34 touchdowns (first), averaged 198.6 yards per game (third) and averaged 4.9 yards per carry (third). 

“It shows that all the work I’ve put in over the years has paid off, but to be honest, the most I get out of it is when my parents see it, they call me with joy and pride, so that’s the fun I get out of it,” Allen said. 

As Allen enters his final year, he is poised to leave a remarkable legacy. His work ethic and commitment to excellence have lifted Southeastern to new heights in recent history. 

“In my time here, I met many cool people that I consider my brothers and friends. I enjoy the work we put in and the preparation that goes into everything. I’ll also miss the city of Hammond. Hammond’s a great place; whenever I go around, people show love,” Allen said. 

With the 2023 season on the rise, Southeastern will look to continue its trend of winning and bring home another Southland Conference title. Amid all the action and exciting plays, pay attention to the man in the trenches doing all the dirty work. 

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About the Contributors
Troy Allen, Staff Reporter
Troy Allen is a senior mass communication major with a concentration in sports journalism. He joined The Lion’s Roar as a staff reporter in September of 2022 with hopes of contributing to a great program. Troy plans to follow his passion for covering various sports like football, basketball and baseball. On his off days, he loves to hang out with friends and family, watch football and play video games.
Samantha Sims, Campus Life Editor
Samantha Sims is a communication major with a concentration in strategic communication. She is from Gretna and joined The Lion’s Roar staff in Sept. 2022. She loves to execute her passions for photography, writing, reading and connecting with others by working at Student Publications. She was recently promoted to campus & community editor. You can usually catch her anywhere on campus, so don’t hesitate to say hi!
Haley Dupre, Photography Editor
Haley Dupre' is a sports communication major from Donaldsonville. She joined our team in Oct. 2021 as a reporter. In addition to her contributions to Student Publications, Haley actively participates in managing SLU Track and Field's social media channels. With her passion for capturing photos, she aspires to build a career in sports photography.
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