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All about Allen: How Wisconsin’s star running back rose up the ranks at just 17

Freshman RB Braelon Allen initially committed to Wisconsin as a safety out of Fond du Lac.
Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 6:23 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 27, 2021 at 10:49 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Badgers are preparing for their biggest game of the season on Saturday against known rival Minnesota. A victory over the Gophers means Wisconsin will win the Big Ten West title and earn a trip to the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis, Indiana.

There’s no question that in order for the Badgers to win, they’ll need a big game out of freshman running back Braelon Allen. At just 17-years-old, Allen has worked his way up to the number one running back at Wisconsin, surpassing 1,000 rushing yards and is second in the country in yards per carry with 7.6.

Allen initially came to Wisconsin as a safety, but moved over to the offense as a running back. Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard said he still talks to Allen every day and reminds him every time the offense is on the bench the defense is on the field.

“Obviously the offense won that battle, it’s nice having an offensive coach isn’t it,” Leonhard said. “Braelon is a different athlete, we’ll find a way to steal him back at some point.”

Since the season began, the running back room has taken at him. Returning starter Jalen Berger was dismissed from the team, as well as Loyal Crawford, Antwan Roberts and Quan Easterling transferred and both Chez Mellusi and Isaac Guerendo went out with season-ending injuries. All the change has allowed for Allen to gain experience and take on a bigger role as the starting running back.

“I wasn’t quite ahead of him (Mellusi) yet, I think whether him being here or not my role was going to expand regardless,” Allen said. “I just have to take that step into a bigger role just like I wanted to.”

In his freshman season, Allen has rushed for 100 yards in seven-straight games, having his best game last week against Nebraska rushing for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Even though he’s already put up impressive numbers and been noticed by former Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor, Allen said his most important game is still ahead of him.

“It’s all about the axe,” Allen said. “It’s something for me to look forward to and be excited about, to have this experience and be a part of this rivalry.”

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota is set for Saturday at 3p.m. CT on FOX.

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