Hello: Kenny Allen

Submitted by Ace on September 18th, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Michigan bolstered their special teams depth and added a scholarship-level punter on the cheap yesterday when Fenton (MI) punter Kenny Allen agreed to join the team in 2012 as a preferred walk-on. Allen should provide quality insurance in case Will Hagerup gets the proverbial third strike and could easily be a multi-year starter once (well, I guess if) Hagerup graduates.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
NR P 2*, #13 K 2*, #33 K NR P

Unfortunately, none of the recruiting websites that have Allen ranked evaluate him as a punter, but they do have a couple evaluations available, though they all agree that he's in the 6'3", 190-pound range, for whatever that's worth. Scout has this report from kicking guru Chris Sailer:

Kenny is a great combo prospect (K/P). A good athlete that shows great potential in all areas. Has the skills to be one of the very best. A hard worker, that will only continue to improve. Kenny is big, tall, strong, and athletic. A great combo prospect. Punts for great distance and shows nice consistency. Definite D1A prospect.

ESPN has this to add ($):

Kenny is a very good kicker/punter. His strength right now is his punting. He showed very well at a Kohl's training camp and will be a very good college punter. His frame and overall leg speed make him an attractive punting candidate. The ball jumps off his foot and he does a good job of presenting a consistent target to hit with his drop. Kenny is a college level punter from a talent perspective.

Sailer has a website with his own independent recruiting rankings, and he has Allen as 4.5-star prospect (five being a Division I prospect, four being Division II, and so on), and ranks him as the #10 specialist overall and #2 combo prospect (there are also two other punters ahead of him) in the high school ranks in 2011. Sailer's latest evaluation of Allen:

Kenny is a very talented young punter.  He has the size and athleticism to dominate in this area.  Can hit a huge ball.  Also a great kicker.  A top combo prosepect [sic] in the Class of 2012.  Will be a scholarship pick!

Allen also came in for praise in February at Jamie Kohl's Midwest kicking camp:

Three punters that impressed were Kenny Allen, a 2012 punter from Fenton High School in Michigan, R.J. Bain, a 2012 punter from Michigan and Sean Decloux from Canada. Allen's smooth mechanics and long frame should draw college interest in the years to come.

Finally, a couple of self-evaluations from Allen himself, the first from the Flint Journal...

The right-footed kicker indicated that he has been booting field goals in the 50-yard range during the Tigers' practices this summer.

"I feel I contribute a lot," Allen said. "I've been growing, getting a lot stronger with my legs. "I've been fixing my mechanics and working out the errors.I've kicked thousands of footballs. It's like muscle memory."

...and then this fantastic quote from a paywalled article on 247Sports [emphasis mine]:

“My strength is consistency,” Allen said. “On my bad ones, it’s still good.

So, Kenny Allen turns bad into good. I like this.


Allen held a scholarship offer from Oregon State, and Rivals reports he had interest from Alabama, Iowa, LSU, Miami (YTM), and a host of MAC schools.


Sailer reports that through the first few weeks of this season, Allen averaged 43.0 yards per punt.

Junior stats via the Flint Journal:

Allen averaged 39.1 yards per punt as a junior, with his longest effort being 71 yards against Walled Lake Central on Nov. 12, 2010.

He was 3-of-5 on field goal attempts and had 37 touchbacks. He was an unanimous All-Metro League first-team pick as a punter while earning honorable mention honors as a kicker.

71 yards? Yes, please.


He's a punter.


Junior highlights(!):

Also available: First two games of 2011 highlights, plus several more videos on Allen's own YouTube channel.


Don't let the walk-on tag fool you—Allen is a scholarship-level punter, as the Oregon State offer belies shows. Allen will arrive on campus when Hagerup is a junior and—barring any further off-field shenanigans from Hagerup—he should be able to redshirt in his first year on campus. That'll leave him with another year as Hagerup's apprentice, then he'll compete with Matt Wile (who has struggled thus far with his punting and could just stick to kicking) for the starting job as a redshirt sophomore. From the looks of it, Allen should help Michigan have a seamless transition after Hagerup graduates, and provide quality depth at the position in case of injury/suspension.


Since Allen is a walk-on, even turning down at least one scholarship opportunity to play for his home-state team, he won't factor in to the oncoming numbers crunch as the Wolverines finish out the 2012 class. The needs continue to be at wide receiver, defensive tackle, offensive tackle, and perhaps running back.



September 18th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

This indicates that Will Hagerup's status with the Wolverines is more tenuous than I thought. After seeing Wile's punts this year, I really, really, want Will back. Any update on Hagerup's status?

Still: Welcome Kenny! Go Blue!


September 18th, 2011 at 4:53 PM ^

How on earth is it indicative of anything to do with Hagerup's status?  I think it's more that a scholarship-level kid is willing to come play scholarship-free at UM.  We'll need a replacement at some point anyway, so you may as well get a good one on the cheap while you can.  Hagerup will be back after SDSU, and has hopefully gotten it together during his suspension.


September 18th, 2011 at 5:14 PM ^

This has nothing to do with Hagerup's status. Brian mentioned this on the podcast for this week, and it's a great point: stockpiling preferred walk-ons is exactly what Ohio State does to bolster their special teams, and in case you haven't noticed, that's worked out rather well for them. They like to be at least two-deep (and often three-deep) with scholarship-level specialists, even if they don't all have actual scholarships. This is Brady Hoke doing what Lloyd Carr and Rich Rodriguez failed to do, which is build depth at the specialist positions, and as we've discovered it's really nice to have multiple options in that area.


September 18th, 2011 at 5:58 PM ^

and is very deserving already of being called a Michigan Man for coming on board as a walk-on instead of going elsewhere as a scholarship player.  Job Well Done Coach Hoke !!... could use that scholarship for more beef on the DLine