Talk about a college football player’s real-life background — whose life was hell on wheels — but still managed to become his best from the worst. That would be Dakota Allen.
Allen — who was a high-profile player and stood out on the struggling Texas Tech University defense in his freshman year — soon learned it the hard way. Before the start of the 2016 season, he was released off the team with two former teammates — Robert Castaneda and Trace Ellison — in May when the three former Red Raiders were indicted on a second-degree felony count of burglary of a habitation.
Not only was this a shock to the Big 12 Conference — it was even more of a surprise to Allen’s parents. How? Because Allen was always known to be the goody-goody kid.
Following his return to his old-time team a year later, his head coach reflected on his 235-pound inside linebacker.
“Dakota is a guy who made a mistake after his freshman year and went to junior college and did everything right, earned his way back,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said at Big 12 media day. He added, “He’s a leader for us already in our locker room. He can tell those young guys about the mistake he made, about what he went through, about how good they have it.”
Now, the Second Team All-Big 12 performer in 2017 will return to harass ball-carriers on behalf of the red and black in 2018.
Full Name: Dakota Allen
Birth Place: Humble, Texas.
School: Texas Tech University
The moment Dakota Allen began his high school journey at Summer Creek High School in Houston, TX, he was hungry to get onto the field. That’s for sure. While he was in high school, he was an all-around player by being considered a three-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and ESPN — and more. Hear this — as a senior — Allen logged 112 tackles and three interceptions. Unbelievable.
In addition, according to ESPN, he was ranked as the nation’s No. 23 inside linebacker. So it’s safe to say, he definitely made a name for himself. Next thing you know, he had an uneasy decision to make. Without hesitation, he chose Texas Tech University over the University of Oklahoma, Texas Christian University, Kansas State University, and Iowa State University.
Let me just say, Texas Tech University’s lightning rod, Dakota Allen — in just his freshman year — it was already a beauty to watch. All of a sudden, he became a regular for the Red Raiders at linebacker and on special teams. It was also that year — when he ranked second on the team with 87 tackles on the season — which 45 of them were solo takedowns. But bigger than all of those accomplishments, he ranked ninth in the Big 12 in tackles per game. On Oct. 24, he broke his career-high with 15 tackles against the Oklahoma Sooners. A week later, he continued his great success with five tackles against Oklahoma State and snagged his first career interception. As the season winded down, he was honored with the Academic All-Big 12 first team selection.
With everything going Allen’s way in his life on and off the field — the worst was about to happen to him. Even before he can step onto the field for his sophomore year, the most shocking thing happened. He was arrested for burglary at a Southwest Lubbock home where a safe full of guns were stolen. As a result, he was suspended from the team. And? Eventually, all the charges were dropped against him. If anything, Allen’s path was one of redemption, but he had to go through Scooba, Mississippi first.
Why there? Well, Scooba is a place where you go to pay your dues, to pay your penance in order to get back to where you, as a player, eventually want to be. And Allen did just that. He did his time at East Mississippi Community College — while also playing on the field as well. But wait — there’s more — he became a national celebrity after appearing on the hit Netflix show, “Last Chance U.” The show details the difficulty and trouble that former Division I players face when they go down to the junior college level. If one thing was for sure, he kept his composure at EMCC.
As a standout linebacker at EMCC, he helped to lead the Lions to an 11-1 record, including a perfect 6-0 mark in Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) play. He also ended the year tied 21st nationally with 9.8 tackles per game. Wow. When it was time for him to leave EMCC, he once again received offers from other other colleges which included — the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University and Marshall University — and many more. Then, once again, he was back at his top school, which was Texas Tech University.
Arguably so, his junior year has been the best year for him — so far. Just as he was getting back into the swing of things with his old squad, he was awarded a new title. That was team captain. On top of that, he sparked a defensive turnaround for the Red Raiders with a team-leading 102 tackles to go along with two sacks, a pair of interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Not to mention, one of his major feats was being ranked seventh in total tackles per game in the Big 12 rankings.
But it’s also worth mentioning, though, he was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 25 and he marked the first time a Texas Tech defensive player had received the honor since Jah’Shawn Johnson did so on Sept. 21, 2015. Incredible.
And guess what?
He will be returning for his senior year at Texas Tech University.
Dakota Allen Proves He’s Unstoppable