The NFL offseason is a period of ever-changing roster moves.
Like clockwork, the Cleveland Browns added another piece to their roster on Tuesday with the signing of linebacker Dakota Allen.
The #Browns have signed Last Chance U standout LB Dakota Allen of Texas Tech. pic.twitter.com/nwOt9idYSo
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) June 21, 2022
Allen comes to Cleveland by way of the Jacksonville Jaguars where he has spent the majority of his career.
Here are three things to know about the Browns’ new linebacker.
1) Texas Tech Standout
Allen was born and raised in Texas and played at Summer Creek High School in Humble, Texas.
After starring at Summer Creek, Allen sorted through multiple college offers that included Texas Tech, Oklahoma, TCU, Iowa State, and Kansas State.
He chose Texas Tech, and as a redshirt freshman, Allen posted 87 total tackles, good for second on the team.
Sometime later, Allen and two other teammates were charged with second-degree burglary which got him expelled from Texas Tech.
Texas Tech's top returning tackler Dakota Allen among 3 players dismissed from the team: https://t.co/68tlIfZGVz pic.twitter.com/whZAEBQmyA
— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) May 5, 2016
The charges against Allen were later dropped after he agreed to enter a pre-trial diversionary program.
Allen then spent a year at the JUCO level before returning to Lubbock where he exploded as a junior with 92 tackles (12 for a loss) and caused six turnovers.
He was named a second-team All-Big 12 member after the season.
As a senior in 2018, Allen had 73 total tackles (6.5 for a loss) and was named first-team All-Big 12.
2) Last Chance U Star
Allen’s year away from Texas Tech was spent at East Mississippi Community College.
The EMCC program was featured in the hit Netflix show Last Chance U for its first two seasons.
Under head coach Buddy Stephens, the Lions went 11-1 during the 2016 season and won the Mississippi Bowl at the end of the year.
Allen was one of the featured players during the show and his talent was on full display for the Netflix crew.
That year, he posted a team-best 117 tackles with two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and five pass breakups.
Dakota Allen went from Last Chance U to All-Big 12.
His story is so inspiring! pic.twitter.com/3DwmxFjxh4
— Athlete Swag (@AthleteSwag) September 21, 2018
Initially, only Troy University and Bowling Green pursued Allen throughout his season at EMCC due to his legal troubles at Texas tech.
Fortunately, by the end of the ‘16 season, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Marshall also showed interest.
Allen worked things out with Texas Tech and was able to return to Lubbock to complete his collegiate career.
3) 3 NFL Teams in his Rookie Year
Allen’s comeback story was made complete when he was drafted by the LA Rams with the 251st overall pick in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
WIth the 251st pick in the 2019 #NFLDraft – the Los Angeles Rams select Texas Tech LB Dakota Allen! #LastChanceU pic.twitter.com/KUVuLDoj6g
— PFF (@PFF) April 27, 2019
He was waived during final roster cuts but was signed the following day to the Rams’ practice squad.
Weeks later, the Oakland Raiders signed Allen off the LA practice squad and he would see his first NFL action on special teams during two games with the team.
After being waived by the Raiders, Allen found himself back in LA on the Rams practice squad before being signed by his third NFL team a month later.
The Jacksonville Jaguars used Allen on special teams as well before he made his way to the starting unit in 2020.
During his two-plus years in Jacksonville, Allen had 38 combined tackles.
Given his NFL background, Cleveland most likely views Allen as a special teams player who can fill in when necessary on defense.
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