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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Born in Arizona, built in Aggieland

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Photo by File

Kyle Allen finished the first half of the Nevada game with 203 yards and three total touchdowns. 

It was the lowest point in the football season — a 59-0 rout in Tuscaloosa destroyed any notion that A&M was championship-ready, and starting quarterback Kenny Hill’s troubled tenure ended in suspension. 

It was a challenging situation and the backdrop to Kyle Allen’s launch to the 2015-2016 starting quarterback position.

Allen grew up and played high school football in Scottsdale, Ariz, where he attracted some of the nation’s most storied universities like Alabama, Notre Dame and UCLA. Ultimately, Allen’s decision to attend Texas A&M went beyond football for the five-star recruit. 

“Mostly, for me, it was the people that were here,” Allen said in an interview before fall camp. “Anywhere I was getting offered by was going to have good football, but I wanted to come to a place where I felt comfortable and could have friends for the rest of my life, and the Aggie network and stuff like that — people that I could trust for the rest of my life.”

Part of the sophomore’s path to Aggieland involved leaving high school early to get a jump start on his college career at the age of 18.

“It was really weird in the beginning, because I remember getting pictures from my friends back in high school who were going to prom and I’m at my last scrimmage at college,” Allen said. “I’m thinking about hopefully furthering myself so I can experience going to the NFL and stuff like that.”

Allen and Kenny Hill went toe-to-toe throughout the spring. It wasn’t until two weeks prior to the season opener that Sumlin announced Hill would lead the Aggies in their matchup with South Carolina.

“When [Sumlin] told me he was going to start [Hill], I understood it but I was obviously just heartbroken because I had just put in seven months of work,” Allen said. “But [my coaches and teammates] told me to keep my head in it and really not lose focus and that is kind of what helped me.”

After the 59-0 loss at the hands of Alabama and the suspension of Hill, Allen was called to the helm. In his first start at Texas A&M, Allen led the Aggies to a 21-16 win over the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. Allen said capturing a win in his first start was something that will stick with him for a long time. 

“Seeing everyone there, especially with it being my first start, I was so excited that everyone was there and it was my team now and running out it just all felt real at that point,” Allen said. 

It didn’t take long for the underclassman to earn the respect of the guys around him. 

“Kyle is a natural leader,” said senior defensive tackle Julien Obioha. 

All-American candidate Josh Reynolds added his own praise of the quarterback. 

“He’s really like a born leader — he took that position and ran with it,” Reynolds said.

For Allen, his first SEC opponent happened to be the then-ranked No. 3 Auburn Tigers. At the time of the Auburn game, A&M seemed to have low morale.

“I think before I earned their trust I had to do a little something on the field just to show them that I’m not just a practice player, I’m for real,” Allen said. “I think there was a turning point in the Auburn game when we were up 14-0 early and I was talking to everyone up and down the sideline just talking like, ‘We can’t stop, we can’t stop,’ just being in their ear giving them things to think about so they didn’t get lackadaisical.”

All of the hard work and preparation paid off for Allen, and he had the game of his life against Auburn, leading A&M to a 41-38 victory. Allen’s performance earned him Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors and solidified his place as the starter for the Aggies. 

At the conclusion of his freshman year, Allen had a 3-2 record as a starter that was capped off by a win in the AdvoCare Liberty Bowl over West Virginia in which he was named the MVP of the game. In just five games, Allen recorded 1,322 yards passing with 16 touchdowns. 

Heading into the season, Allen said he looks to establish trust with all of his teammates. 

“A big thing for me is to get as much out of the guys around you as possible,” Allen said. “If you know they have more and they’re not getting it out that’s on me, not on anyone else, it’s on me to get it out of them. I want to be the leader of this team — the quarterback of this team. I can get it out of them.”

I think before I earned their trust I had to do a little something on the field just st show them that I’m not just a practice player — I’m for real.”
Kyle Allen, quarterback

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