BUSINESS

Ole Miss wide receiver determined to overcome challenging past

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By Arthur Brown
Oxford Stories
ajbrown3@go.olemiss.edu

Ole Miss wide receiver Floyd Allen faced many challenges during his early years, but today this Ole Miss Rebels wide receiver is determined to leave the past behind and move forward to accomplish his goals.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, football was always part of Allen’s life. He attended Nimitz High school, where he was a backup quarterback.

One day after practice, things forever changed for Allen and his family. After returning from practice one afternoon, he discovered his parents arguing. His father left and never came back.

Allen, his mother and younger sister had to make it on their own. Allen’s football performance began to slip as he worked a part-time job, and he said he became a different person.

“When my dad walked out on us, I did not know how to feel,” said Allen said. “I asked myself things like, ‘Did he ever loves us?’”

During his senior year, Allen’s football position changed to wide receiver. He received football scholarships to many schools in California, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada and Georgia.

“Out of nowhere, life hit me hard again,” said Allen.

One afternoon during a high school practice, Allen took a hard hit to his leg that sent him to the hospital where he learned he’d tore his ACL. After the incident, he noticed some schools were losing interest in him because of the injury.

Soon, most of the colleges stopped calling. Despite everything going on in his life, he didn’t want to give up. Football and academics were important to him. He said he graduated in the top 10 percent of his class with a little over 300 students.

With no college to attend, Allen’s dreams of playing football at the next level were becoming more of a fantasy. He had his head down until he received a call from a coach at a small school in Kansas. Allen was offered a scholarship, and he immediately took it.

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“Growing up the way I grew up, was not easy at all,” said Allen. “But I knew one day it will be all worth it.”

Allen was hard working on and off the field. He worked at Subway to help his mom. He decided to go to junior college and try the recruiting process again, later transferring to a junior college in California.

“My life changed when I moved to California,” Allen said. “I knew something had just sparked. It was like I was regaining life.”

Although he continued to do well in football, he said the school was a little overpopulated, and he didn’t like living in a two-bedroom apartment with seven other people.

Allen worked at McDonald’s while playing football to provide for himself. He found it difficult to meet basic needs financially, like having enough money for food. He eventually decided to quit playing football, and because he was there on a scholarship, he had to move out of his apartment. Allen said he was homeless for a few months until he became determined to get his life together.

“I was lost,” said Allen. “But it was time for me to pick myself up and do what I had to do.”

One day, while scrolling through social media, Allen noticed a coach from his old school who had worked at the University of California. Allen said Jacob Peeler was the wide receiver coach there until he was offered a job at the University of Mississippi.

Allen sent Peeler a congratulations text on Twitter. Peeler quickly responded and told him there was an available walk on spot for a wide receiver, and he wanted Allen there.

“I call Floyd with the news, and I thought he hung up on me,” said Jacob Peeler. “He didn’t hang up. He just couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He was crying tears of joy. I told him, I would always look out for him. The minute he messaged me, I knew I needed him.”

Allen now plays for the Rebels and started for the first time last year on special teams.

“I’m really happy for Floyd knowing what all he has been through, and it feels great knowing that I can help him reach his dreams,” said Jacob Peeler.

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