Michigan Picks Up Grad Transfer OL Willie Allen

Eric Rutter

Earlier in the week, massive offensive tackle Willie Allen announced that he would be leaving Louisiana Tech and entering the transfer portal as a graduate. It did not take Allen long to find his new home as the 6-6, 343-pound lineman posted his commitment to Michigan on Twitter late Thursday night.

Originally during the recruiting process, Allen, who hailed from New Orleans (La.) John Curtis, was ranked as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com and as the No. 23 player in the state, which is where he would stay as an eventual LSU commit. Allen committed to the Tigers when Les Miles was still the program's head coach. 

In college, Allen did not exactly work out at LSU initially, and he was forced to go the Juco route after redshirting during his first year in Baton Rouge. From there, Allen would wind up at Louisiana Tech, and he eventually blossomed into a starter for the program and was looked at as a key piece of the team's offensive line heading into the 2020 season.

However, Allen opted out before entering the grad portal. Because he waited this late to commit to the Wolverines, Allen is not eligible to play this season. He would have had to enroll at Michigan on Monday, Sept. 23 or before that point to have possible found the field for U-M this fall. 

Why adding Allen makes sense for Michigan

Allen will have one more year of eligibility when he makes it to Ann Arbor, so either his one season at Michigan is viewed as a savvy addition by the coaching staff or he is a low-risk, high-ceiling player that just did not work out. Since scholarship restrictions are going to be vastly loosened due to COVID-19, Michigan has extra flexibility in the transfer department, but Allen would be on the roster for only one year anyways. So, that one year of scholarship would either be used on a grad transfer with collegiate experience or on a freshman blocker. 

Since Allen will certainly bolster Michigan's depth at tackle up front, it gives the program a little bit of breathing room in case one or multiple players have strong 2020 campaigns and declare for the NFL Draft. Jalen Mayfield is the immediate thought when this scenario arises, but Andrew Vastardis is a senior, so U-M might have multiple holes to fill up front and having another body to rotate either in practice or actually into the lineup can only be viewed as a plus. 

What are your thoughts on Michigan taking a grad transfer on the O-Line? Do you think he will crack the starting lineup in 2021? Let us know!

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