You knew that a couple of Florida State running backs were going to figure prominently into this list of the greatest Seminoles. But you probably forgot about the man who helped rush FSU onto the Mt. Rushmore of college football, and that’s why we’re here to remind you about the great Greg Allen.
All Allen did was something that neither Warrick Dunn nor Dalvin Cook can claim— he earned All-America honors in four-straight seasons as a Seminole RB. And that began in 1981, when Allen made his way to Tallahassee via Milton, a small town in Florida’s panhandle.
Allen wasted little time in cementing his status as a legend at FSU. In his true freshman season, he ripped LSU for 202 rushing yards in a win at Death Valley in his first start, midway through the ’81 season, which is still the 11th highest total for a Seminole RB. As if an encore were required, a week later, Allen shredded West Carolina for an astounding 322 yards on the ground, a total that remains the single-game record among ’Nole rushers. In addition, he returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score in that game, still tied for the 11th longest kick-return TD in program history.
His 417 all-purpose yards in that game remain the highest single-game RB total in FSU history. Allen would also hang 109 rushing yards on Miami that year, giving him three for the season, and his pair of games over 200 yards on the ground are tied with Cook for the most times it’s been done in a season. His 888 yards in ’81 still have him third in the Seminole record books for a frosh total, behind Cam Akers and Cook, and are 20th for a single season as a Seminole.
Fittingly, Allen was named a 1981 Football News freshman All-American and earned an AP All-American honorable mention. He was also a second-team All-South Independent selection.
Allen again captured that AP All-American honorable mention in 1982 and improved his All-South Independent status to that of a first-teamer— even though he was second on the team in rushing, to Ricky Williams. That season, he authored a couple of four TD games, against South Carolina and Louisville. Cook is the only other back in ’Nole history who can claim as much in a single season. What’s more, Allen’s 20 rushing scores in ’82 are still tops in FSU history. and he added another three 100-yard games that year, vs. UL, West Virginia, and Ohio State.
But 1983 was Allen’s real breakout year. I know— like he hadn’t done that plenty already. He again gashed LSU, this time for 201 yards, No. 12 on the FSU all-time single-game list, which headlined his five forays over the century mark in ’83. Allen hit rushing pay dirt 13 times, tied for eighth as the single-season Florida State total. He resumed his spot as the Seminoles’ rushing leader, with 1,134 yards, sixth in a lone campaign among ’Nole RBs.
That was enough to make Allen FSU’s first consensus All-American running back in 1983, after receiving first-team acknowledgment from Walter Camp and the UPI, second-team honors from Football News, and and a third-team nod from the AP. He also repeated as an All-South Independent first-team choice.
Allen capped his Seminole career in style in 1984, and the real gem came against Arizona State, when he rushed for 223 yards, still sixth in the Florida State record books. In that road game, which FSU won 52-44, Allen let loose with an 81-yard TD scamper, the longest of his career. He also averaged 10.1 yards per carry, tied with Cook for the most ever in one game at FSU, with a minimum of 20 attempts. His 971 yards on the ground led the ’Noles for the third time in his tenure as a Seminole, and are 15th on the all-time list at Florida State.
Accolades for Allen after the ’84 campaign include first-team Walter Camp and Football News All-America selections, a second-team UPI inclusion, and a third-team AP selection. And another first-team All-South Independent honor.
Despite all of the talent that followed Allen in FSU’s dynasty years, he is still third on the Seminoles’ all-time rushing list, behind just Cook and Dunn, with 3,769 yards. And he’s second in career rushing scores, as his 44 are eclipsed only by Cook’s 46. Allen’s 17 career 100-yard rushing games are also third in the Florida State record books, behind Cook and Dunn (22 apiece).
In the 1985 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns snagged Allen in the second round, and in 1990, he was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame. If defenders were as gassed going after Allen as I am after compiling his accomplishments, I honestly do feel for them. Okay, not really. Included below are some highlights of Allen.