The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 12: Houston’s Kyle Allen

AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.

The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team or in a unit is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2017 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.

Previously:
50 – Lamar DE Daniel Crosley / 49 – TCU WR KaVontae Turpin / 48 – UTEP QB Ryan Metz
47 – UMHB RB Markeith Miller / 46 – Sam Houston State DE PJ Hall / 45 – Baylor WR Blake Lynch
44 – Texas Tech WR Jonathan Giles (transferred) / 43 – Texas Tech RB Justin Stockton
42 – PVAMU WR Joshua Simmons / 41 – Rice RB Samuel Stewart / 40 – UNT WR Jalen Guyton
39 – Texas RB Chris Warren / 38 – Rice OL Trey Martin / 37 – Texas A&M Commerce QB Luis Perez
36 – Baylor DL K.J. Smith / 35 – Texas State LB Gabe Loyd / 34 – Texas State WR Thurman Morbley
33 – Houston DB Khalil Williams / 32 – Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks / 31 – SFA DL John Franklin
30 – SMU DE Justin Lawler / 29 – Texas State QB Damian Williams / 28 – ACU QB Dallas Sealey
27 – UTSA QB Dalton Sturm / 26 – Texas A&M RB Trayveon Williams / 25 – UTSA WR Josh Stewart
24 – TCU LB Travin Howard / 23 – Texas Tech OL Travis Bruffy / 22 – Rice LB Emmanuel Ellerbee
21 – UNT DT Bryce English / 20 – TCU LB Ty Summers / 19 – UTEP LB Alvin Jones
18 – The Baylor QB / 17 – UTSA LB Josiah Tauaefa / 16 – Texas A&M OL Koda Martin
15 – Texas Tech QB Nic Shimonek / 14 – Texas LB Malik Jefferson / 13 – TexasA&M WR Christian Kirk

The History

Remember the saga surrounding the transfers of two former five-star quarterback recruits that unfolded at Texas A&M back in December of 2015? The first to announce his decision to depart College Station, Kyle Allen, is now in prime position to take over the reigns of the offense at the University of Houston after sitting out last season.

Allen, who attended Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, threw for more than 8,000 yards and 86 touchdowns throughout his high school career. He was ranked as the nation’s top quarterback recruit in the class of 2014. After initially losing the starting job to Kenny Hill as a freshman, Allen took over for the final five games of the year and threw for 1,061 yards and 13 touchdowns while also engineering an upset of No. 3 Auburn. He went on to split time with former Allen star Kyler Murray as a sophomore, finishing the year with 2,210 yards and 17 touchdowns before deciding to transfer to Houston.

Allen served as the Cougars scout team quarterback last season as Greg Ward Jr. wrapped up his illustrious career. While there are others (D’Eriq King, Bowman Sells, Kyle Postma and Bryson Smith) involved in the competition to replace Ward in 2017, Allen looks to be the clear front-runner heading into the fall. Regardless of who gets the job, their performance is paramount to the Coogs’ fall success.

The Skillset

Allen’s skillset is vastly different from that of Ward, which will be somewhat of an adjustment for the Cougars. While he doesn’t have the same dual-threat ability, Allen (6-3, 205 lbs.) is a pro-style quarterback with great instincts and an accurate arm. He is athletic enough to escape the pocket when needed. Houston will likely throw the ball more this season to accommodate for Allen’s ability to toss the ball down the field and he will still provide the threat of a big play – just in a different way than that of Ward.

The Impact

Moving on from one of the best players in school history is always a tough task for a program, and the Cougars head into the season with a new coach leading the way as well. Fortunately, Allen has experience that most players at the Group of Five level lack after competing against SEC defenses for two full seasons. When Allen announced his decision to transfer to Houston, Major Applewhite (then the offensive coordinator) was one of the major reasons why. Now Allen will have a chance to help make Applewhite’s first season as a head coach a successful one.

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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.

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