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Oregon WR Devon Allen might opt for NFL over pro track career

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen has emerged as a go-to weapon in the Ducks' offense.

LOS ANGELES -- A constant refrain from Florida State players in the run up to the Rose Bowl has been the speed of Oregon's players heading in to the two teams' matchup in "The Granddaddy of Them All" on New Year's Day.

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That shouldn't come as a surprise considering the fastest Duck is wide receiver Devon Allen, the reigning NCAA champion in the 110 meter hurdles. There has been some talk that the freshman would eventually give up playing college football to focus on running track as a professional, but after leading the team in touchdown receptions this season, the dangerous slot man seemed to indicate he might try doubling down on a future professional football player before trying his hand at the hurdles in more serious competitions.

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"As an athlete you want to be performing at the highest level," Allen said. "Being able to compete in pro track would have been fun, but, you know, college football, it's fun to me and hopefully I have a career in the NFL, if that works out. If not I can always go back and try to run again."

Allen is still another season away from being eligible for the NFL draft, but the 6-foot, 185-pounder has already proved his worth as one of Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota's favorite targets while providing a dangerous option in the return game for the Ducks. He has been encouraged by coaches to continue to pull double duty for the school's prestigious track program while he's in Eugene and will likely split time in the spring between the two, just as he did earlier this year when he wound up winning an NCAA title.

"To me, Devon's got a future in both sports and that gives him options," Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, a seven-year NFL veteran, said. "He's a competitor. He's tough. I'd love to see him be an All-American in football and an Olympic champion in track. You know, some people might say he can't do that, but I think Devon has a mind-set of, 'Why can't I do that?'"

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The speedy Allen should have plenty of time to grow as both a receiver and hurdler over the next few years and has already exceeded the staff's expectations as one of the go-to players on the team following the loss of veteran Bralon Addison during fall camp.

No matter what he ultimately ends up deciding to do with his career going forward, one thing that is certain heading into Thursday's game is he'll get extra attention from the Seminoles' defensive backs as they look to slow down the Ducks' high-flying offense.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.



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