|Allen (No. 21) shown here against Stanford, has the agility and balance to turn short catches into long gains. (USA Today Sports Images)|
Cal junior wide receiver Keenan Allen made the announcement Wednesday most had been expecting -- he's foregoing his senior season to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
"I have always dreamed of having an opportunity to play in the NFL, and my time at Cal has helped me get to the point in my career where I believe I am ready to take that next step," Allen said in a statement released through the university. "I am thankful for my experience at Cal and am excited about what the future holds."
The future is expected to hold a first round selection if the 6-3, 210 pound Allen can assure scouts that he is over the left knee injury which sidelined him for the final three games of the 2012 season.
Despite the injury, Allen ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's top wide receiver for the 2013 draft and leaves atop Cal's record books with 205 career receptions. He finished his career with 2,570 career receiving yards and 17 touchdown receptions. Allen had 61 catches for 737 yards and six touchdowns in nine games this season for the Golden Bears despite being the focus of every opponents' defensive alignment.
An extremely highly regarded prep prospect who was recruited by Nick Saban to Alabama to play safety, Allen elected to make a late switch to Cal to play with his half-brother, quarterback Zach Maynard, who had transferred to Berkeley after initially playing at the University of Buffalo.
While a highly productive player against quality competition, Allen does not boast the elite size-speed combination that has led A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Justin Blackmon to earn a top 10 selection in recent years. Allen is athletic and capable of turning short catches into long gains due to his agility, balance and vision but does not possess elite acceleration. Allen's size, physicality and relatively precise route-running should help him emerge as a legitimate No. 1 wideout in the NFL, especially in a timing-based West Coast Offense that caters to his strengths.