Should Texas Tech’s Star Linebacker Dakota Allen Be Done for the Season?
An already-injury plagued Red Raiders team may have just lost their star tackler for the season.
Lubbock sports writer Don Williams revealed that Dakota Allen tried to play with a broken hand during Texas Tech's game against Oklahoma Saturday night in Lubbock. You could tell his hand was injured by the mammoth club he was sporting during the game. Here's a shot of it below.
Allen also hurt his knee, though it's unclear what the extent of that injury is. Williams chalked up Allen missing the last three quarters of the OU game to the latter injury.
Allen has been a standout for Texas Tech's defense following a stint on Netflix's "Last Chance U" playing for East Mississippi Community College. Since returning to Lubbock, Allen has been the MVP of the much-improved Texas Tech defense, with 101 tackles in his junior season and 69 so far in his senior campaign. That's good enough for top 10 in the Big 12.
In the preseason, Allen was rated the best inside linebacker in the country by profootballfocus.com. But as the season progressed, his draft stock hasn't been a large part of the conversation. Obviously, Allen will be eligible to enter the NFL draft this off-season, and I assume that would be his plan. But would playing injured help that draft stock?
We don't know the full extent of his injuries, but I do know that college players are making business decisions more and more to ensure they're healthy for the NFL Draft process. Players like Christian McCaffrey skipped their bowl game, while Jaylon Smith nearly cost himself an NFL career by playing in his. Nick Bosa, a likely top 5 pick, left Ohio State to rehab independently for the NFL Draft.
Is it in Dakota Allen's best interest to do the same?
Allen might not be a high-profile name like Smith, McCaffery, and Bosa, but he does have a draft dream that could be hindered by trying to play through injuries for his Texas Tech teammates, even though they were mathematically eliminated from the Big 12 Championship (barring any absolute collapse). Is bowl contention important enough to risk further injury?
There are two basic schools of thought here, and the situation is more complicated than a two-answer poll. Either Dakota Allen should focus on his future and get healthy for the NFL Combine (and beyond), or he should honor his teammates and stick it out because the team is still playing for a bowl game.
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Watch: Texas Tech Home Game Highlights