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Purdue University

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Purdue University
Purdue’s Ricardo Allen had three interceptions, including one for a touchdown, last season.
College preview: Purdue

Boilers’ Allen has it covered

Cornerback spearheads Purdue’s pass defense

– Tall receiver, fast receiver or experienced receiver; it doesn’t matter.

As the first two years have indicated, Purdue junior cornerback Ricardo Allen is ready for whatever is coming his way.

“I’ve learned a lot playing against some of the good wide receivers,” Allen said during Big Ten media day last month. “It just shows that it takes time and if you work hard every day, you’ll get your chance and God will bless you with great opportunities.”

Allen has made the most of those opportunities. He’s earned All-Big Ten honors as a freshman and as a sophomore.

Purdue coach Danny Hope believes Allen could be in line for another big year.

“He’s a great player,” Hope said. “He was a star as soon as he came on campus, instant success. A freshman All-American, a freshman All-Big Ten type of player. The better our defensive front plays, the better Ricardo Allen is going to play.

“We have the potential to have a very good defensive front. That’s going to make Ricardo Allen and all of his secondary teammates a lot more productive throughout the course of the season.”

Allen has received plenty of preseason recognition. He was listed on several award watch lists, including the Thorpe Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive back.

“I’m looking to have a great season,” Allen said. “Being on the award lists is great for me and my team and it’s great to show the players that if we work hard, we can achieve things.”

The 5-foot-11, 176-pounder from Daytona Beach, Fla., had 81 tackles, including 62 solo, last year. He had three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown against Minnesota on Oct. 8. He also broke up three passes.

“It gives you a breather knowing if they throw to the ball to his side, it’s capable of getting picked or batted down,” Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short said. “He works hard in practice.”

Allen received second-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches in 2011. He made the honorable mention list from the media.

Allen was second-team All-Big Ten media selection as a freshman (honorable mention by the coaches) after collecting 83 tackles. He intercepted three passes, returning two for touchdowns.

He shares a school record with three interception returns for touchdowns.

“Ricardo is a football junkie. He does a great job of studying himself and studying the opponents,” Hope said. “He’s very competitive and he always shows up. You never have to worry about Ricardo showing up. He has really stepped up as a leader.

“He was voted by his teammates as a captain. I thought that was probably very important for Ricardo because it would be the next step for him as a player, the leadership part. We expect a lot from him and anticipate him being an impact player on our team this season.”