Former CFL scout Dave Van Nett breaks down the Michigan State Spartans offensive lineman Matt Allen and he was extremely impressed with the young man’s abilities to anchor the line.
- Matt Allen – Michigan State University
- High School – Hinsdale HS
- Hometown -Hinsdale Ill.
- Parents – John & Leslie Allen – Two brothers
- Jersey # – 64
- Position – OC
- Height – 6’3*
- Weight – 311*
- Hand – 10 inches*
- Arm – 32*
- Wing – 77*
* Official Hula Bowl Measurements
Matt is the youngest son to John and Leslie Allen. John is a stock broker and, mom, Leslie is a middle school teacher. Matt is what you call a legacy player at Michigan State (MSU). Both of Matt’s older brothers played at MSU as well as in the NFL. But, the athleticism doesn’t stop there, both of Matt’s parents were athletes as well. John Allen was a collegiate wrestler at Purdue and his mother played volleyball at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she has recently been inducted into the universities Hall of Fame. On another personal note, Matt volunteered in Houston during the hurricane floods and has done missionary work in Africa.
In my article on NFL Draft Diamonds, Trenchmen’s Corner: Breaking Down the Michigan State Spartans Offensive Line Group, I introduced Matt and his teammates as one of the most experienced offensive lines in the NCAA. Matt has logged 1834 snaps and that includes missing most of the 2020 season. If you average the missing games into his snap count it would be close to 2300 career snaps, that alone is amazing. Matt is tenacious at center. His technical ability is elite and his aggression level is top-notch. Matt is patient, intelligent, aggressive, technically sound, and relentless in his ability to be as detailed and thorough as he can be. He is the consummate teammate as well, his relationship with his fellow linemen is faultless.
2022 Hula Bowl
The 2022 Hula Bowl was a week-long statement to Matt’s leadership ability. Along with his teammate AJ Arcuri, Matt was looked to by the rest of the offensive line for leadership guidance and for an explanation of any new techniques being coached. Offensive line coach Tony Wise brought an old school approach to a new school game, and Matt was able to not only learn Coach Wise’s lessons but explain and lead the other linemen that were there. Matt was meticulous throughout the week taking notes and learning everything he could. His day-to-day practices were just demonstrations of his talents as a center. He competed against some of the best defensive tackles in the country and dominated.
Matt strives for excellence week in and week out. I have watched the entire 2020 & 2021 season of the MSU Offensive line. Matt has been just a part of this amazing offensive line. He makes his teammates stronger and his teammates demand just as much strength from him. He has shown incredible growth in his time at MSU. Matt is ferocious off the snap, attacking quickly and accurately. I described his teammate AJ Arcuri as being patiently aggressive, Matt doesn’t have that luxury. Matt explodes off the ball and fights to the whistle. Measuring just over 6’2” and 310 pounds he isn’t the biggest linemen on the field but his technical ability and sheer desire to beat his opponent makes him one of the biggest threats on the offensive line. He isn’t without his faults either, but they are minimal compared to his strengths.
Assessment: 2021 Games watched – Northwestern, Michigan, Ohio State, 2022 Hula Bowl
- Matt has a strong and balanced stance.
- His knee/ankle bend are excellent
- He uses a dead ball snap most of his snaps, at times he will use a traditional snap.
- His snaps are quick and precise.
- Ferocious off the snap and attacking the defender.
- His run blocking is on point.
- He double teams well.
- He has the ability to shed a block and pick up a second level blitz as well.
- He has fast hands and most of the time they are very accurate. At times his hands will get a little wide.
- His zone work is excellent, both inside and outside zone.
- Excellent leverage points in run blocking as well.
- He has the ability to stretch his blocks down the line quickly.
- He keeps his head on a swivel as well, always looking for work.
- His smaller physical size isn’t usually a problem, but at times he can get overpowered.
- At times he can over reach while blocking and it will put him slightly off balance.
I rate Matt a solid A- to an A. His overall abilities are excellent and he will be a huge benefit to any team in the league. The thing that Matt faces in this draft is other centers in the draft that are potential Hall of Famers, ie. Tyler Linderbaum from Iowa. Matt and the rest of the MSU offensive line have been overlooked most of this season, not sure why, but they have. This has moved Matt down the rankings unfairly. Matt is one of the most seasoned guys out there and plays at an elite level, but most mock drafts out there rank Matt between 12th and the 16th ranked center. I do not rely on mock drafts and predictions, I rely on film. Matt is and should be in the top three centers of this draft class. Unfortunately, with these so-called experts out there putting him so low on the draft board I think it is going to affect his draft location. With Matt’s abilities, I can see him going as the second or third center off the boards but realistically he will go in the mid-rounds.