EDUCATION

From homeless to NFL prospect, Floyd Allen continues to defy the odds

Ford Werness
Oxford Stories
fbwernes@go.olemiss.edu

Former Ole Miss receiver Floyd Allen is currently training with hopes of being called in this year’s NFL draft. He’s come a long way as a student athlete who once slept in his car.

Allen is a world class improviser. Whether it’s on the football field or in everyday life, he has learned to make the best of any situation.

Since the age of 10, Allen has dreamed of playing professional football in the NFL. Although attending four colleges in five years is not the most methodical way of making it to the pros, Allen’s life hasn’t been “methodical.” His journey, whether he chose it or not, was the road less traveled.

Coming out of high school, Allen took an offer to play slot receiver at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school Bethany College in Kansas. Allen said it was a “culture shock” having lived his whole life in Houston, Texas to be in a town of only 3,200 people.

He caught his coach’s attention with a unique ability to make plays. This led to an opportunity for Allen to play at a junior college called Santa Monica in California.

Finally getting a significant opportunity to showcase his talent, Allen was ecstatic about the chance to play at Santa Monica. Even if it meant sleeping in a two-bedroom apartment with seven other people, that didn’t stop him.

Allen stretching out before his workout. Photo by Ford Werness.

Sadly, Allen’s credits from Bethany College did not transfer, and he was forced to sit out the entire season. Despite being unable to play in any games, he was still part of the team and knew he needed to find a way to support them.

“Right after I finished my shift at McDonald’s, I would grab a Big Mac and run down to the stadium nearly a mile away,” said Allen who transferred to El Camino Junior College the next season hoping for a better opportunity.

“Honestly, I felt like I was in the best shape of my life going into that season,” Allen said. “I believed that was going to be my year.”

On the first day of fall camp, Allen went up for a jump ball and came down on his ankle. His trainers told him it was just a sprain, so Allen pushed through the pain and played the first couple weeks of the season. When he couldn’t bear it any longer, he went to get an MRI.

“The doctor came back in the room and said, ‘Honestly, I have no clue how you’re even walking,'” said Allen, who was sidelined for the remainder of the season and forced to watch his team finish the season undefeated without him.

After his stint at El Camino, Allen put his football career on hold to try and provide for his family. There were many nights when he was forced to sleep in his car and wonder where his life was headed. Though he was in a dark place, quitting was not an option.

“No matter how hard anything gets, I let the good outweigh the bad,” he said. “I believe the greatest gift God ever gave me was the refusal to quit.”

One morning, Allen saw a Tweet pop up on his phone stating that a coach he had met at a camp had taken the wide receiver’s coaching position at Ole Miss. Allen offered Coach Jacob Peeler a message of congratulations and could never have anticipated the message he would receive back.

“I remember seeing his message come up on my phone saying he has a walk-on spot for me at Ole Miss,” he said “Tears of joy started coming down my face. I couldn’t help but say ‘Yes’ right away.”

Allen came to Ole Miss as a student-athlete in July of 2017. He was a walk-on, but the title of Division 1 SEC football player could never be taken from him.

Allen had no intentions of riding the bench. Just one year after enrolling as a student, he was awarded something much greater than a spot on the team.

After an early August practice before the 2018 season, Allen was asked to stand in front of the team and open a bag to see what was waiting inside. He was awarded a full scholarship.

His teammates bum-rushed him, jumping and screaming, as they too had known how long a journey it was for Allen to get to this moment.

“It was the best day of my life, easily,” Allen said.

Ole Miss receiver Drake Beck said Floyd’s work ethic is admirable.

“It is something young receivers, such as myself, as well as players in general, can use as a standard when working towards their goals,” Beck said.

Allen works on his route running. Photo by Ford Werness

Allen knew his hard work and trials of adversity had led to this moment. Now he had a real chance to show the country who he was on the big stage.

On a team with three wide receivers potentially being first-round draft picks in the upcoming season, Allen could not have played much better last season. He caught every ball that touched his hands and was able to perform and impress each time his number was called.

Allen said the NFL would get the “hardest working individual they’ve ever seen. You’re never too good at anything, and whoever decides to call my name, they’re picking up a hall of famer.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s