Devon Allen, a University of Oregon football player who competed in the hurdles at the Olympics, acknowledges the crowd during a ceremony honoring Olympians from the state of Oregon, at halftime of an NBA basketball game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Chicago Bulls in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016.Photo Credit: AP/Steve Dykes
Olympic hurdler and Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen says he will forgo his remaining eligibility with the Ducks and pursue a professional track career.
Allen, a two-time NCAA champion in the 110-meter hurdles who placed fifth in the event at the Rio Olympics this summer, said Wednesday he does not yet have an agent. He is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee.
Allen said his aim is to win the gold medal in the 2020 Games, and then perhaps return to playing football professionally. He feels that turning pro and training full time gives him the best chance to medal.
“My ideal scenario is to run track for the next couple of years, and then in the 2020 Olympics win the gold medal, have the world record,” he said. “And then I can put that aside and try to play football. So I think that’s the ideal scenario.”
Allen appeared in the Ducks’ first three games this season before injuring his left knee and being ruled out for the rest of the season. Allen tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the fourth quarter of Oregon’s 35-32 loss at Nebraska on Sept. 17.
The 21-year-old, who said he will remain in Eugene, Oregon, to train, has two years of eligibility left in track at Oregon, and one year left for football.
He hopes to complete his degree in business administration in the spring.
“I think overall I had a great career and I feel like I had an awesome experience here, too,” he said during the announcement in Eugene. “My No. 1 goal was to get my degree so I’ll finish that in the spring, which is first and foremost. But playing two sports in college is tough. I can definitely vouch for that, and trying to balance those two as well with school and the social life and, unfortunately the injuries, is tough.”
After competing in Rio, Allen was a late arrival for the Ducks’ fall camp but jumped right back into action. He appeared in the opener against UC Davis and started Week 2 against Virginia, catching a 77-yard touchdown pass.
Allen first made a splash as a redshirt freshman, finishing as the team’s third-best receiver with 41 catches for 684 yards and seven touchdowns — including an 80-yard TD against Washington State.
But his season ended when he injured his knee on the opening kickoff of Oregon’s Rose Bowl victory that year over Florida State. He required surgery and missed that season’s national championship game against Ohio State.
He spent much of last season trying to return to form on the football field and the track — while eyeing the ultimate prize of an Olympic bid. He appeared in 12 games, but caught just nine passes for 94 yards.
Allen earned a spot on the Olympic team for Rio by winning the 110-meter hurdles in the Olympic Trials last July at Oregon’s Hayward Field. He also won the NCAA title in the event.
It was his second NCAA title — he won the championship as a freshman in 2014. He also won that year’s U.S. national championships in the 110-meter hurdles.
Allen said he was disappointed with his fifth-place finish in Rio.
“After the Olympics, I wasn’t frustrated, but I was a little unhappy with the way I finished,” he said. “And I just felt confident that if I spend full time focusing on track, like a lot of the other guys do, I think it would give me a better opportunity to perform well on that kind of stage.”