By LARRY VAUGHT
Last season Josh Allen played so well for Kentucky that he became the consensus national defensive player of the year and a first-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The rookie linebacker is off to a fabulous start in the first five games of his NFL career. He has 14 solo tackles, including five quarterback sacks, along with seven assists. He’s also forced on fumble.
Allen had a sack Sunday in his team’s win at the Cincinnati Bengals, a play that certainly pleased Kentucky coach Mark Stoops.
“I didn’t get a chance to see it, but I did hear. It is my understanding that he’s leading all rookies (in sacks),” Stoops said. “Doesn’t surprise me.
“I know different scouts and different people that come through and as we talk about Josh, they all speak so highly of him.”
Why wouldn’t they? Allen helped revive the Kentucky football program in a classy way on and off the field and now he’s obviously having success in the NFL. Stoops uses Allen as a role model for his current players.
“It’s important for these guys that are going through tough times right now. They just, you know, they all want it right now and everybody understands that. As your program gets better and you have guys that are playing at a higher level, you don’t need as many young guys, but they have to continue to have that urgency in practice and lift and develop,” Stoops said Monday.
“With today, not having school or fall break, we were in there this morning, our young guys were in there early and a bunch of us coaches just went through and just went and spent some time with them, going through that weight room. And they were in there getting after it and that’s what they have to do. And they were all in there a 100 percent, in there this morning working out, and it was good to see them.
“A lot of them are changing their bodies and they’re going through a tough time. But Jordan Wright’s a great example of that as well. He took some time, took some time to play. Jordan’s a little disappointed but my conversation with Jordan was, we need you to play at a higher level, pick up your game.
“And it’s really good to see him go through a couple tough years and now he’s starting to really play and he’s really grown up and he needs to continue to do that because he has a lot of upside. He’s going to continue to push himself, he’s playing through some banged up stuff, but he’s starting to play at a higher level. ”