LARAMIE – Quickly, can you find or even point out Larmie, Wyoming on the map? If you’re a fan of a team likely picking in the top five of the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, you better learn to Google both Larmie and Wyoming Cowboys quarterback, Josh Allen.
Name: Josh Allen
Weight: 233 pounds
Birthplace: Firebaugh, California
Resume: 2017 Pre-season Manning Award Watch List
Key Games: @Iowa (9/2), Oregon (9/16), @Boise State (10/21), Fresno State (11/18)
NFL Draft Projection: Top five pick
Allen, a 6’5 233-pound junior out of Wyoming burst onto the national scene in passing for 3,254 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, 20th-best in the country.
A former junior college quarterback at Reedley Junior College, whose only options for a scholarship were Eastern Michigan and Wyoming, has a chance to go from an overlooked and obscure farm kid playing out in the Mountain West to possibly the top overall pick and this season’s Heisman dark horse.
Not many outside of Wyoming know much about Allen, the state other than maybe Yellowstone, but perhaps Allen bringing the Heisman to Laramie will change that. Thanks to his breakout performance last season, Allen is now on every watch list from the Manning Award to being called the next Ben Roethlisberger by ESPN’s draft expert, Todd McShay.
The question remains, can he win it?
While he has the ability to put up Heisman-worthy numbers every week, Allen will face the dreaded East Coast bias of likely Heisman voters of playing in a non-Power Five conference such as the Mountain West, two time zones away, when most are already in bed, for a team that doesn’t have the brand name of a title contender like the Cowboys.
Sadly, when most think of Cowboys, its either America’s Team or the ones from Stillwater, in the form of the Oklahoma State ones, who have their own Heisman hopeful in Mason Rudolph. Again, brand name and recognition DOES matter, even in Heisman voting.
It also doesn’t help Allen that his best cases to make a Heisman statement come early—and not late enough—in the season with games vs. Power Five opponents vs Iowa and Oregon at home before facing conference rival—and noted BCS buster—Boise State on the road before going on the road again for an emotional homecoming, as Firebaugh is a farming community 40 miles west of Fresno, vs the Bulldogs, in a possible primetime showcase.
Depending on how he does against those teams, Allen could either be on the outside looking in, or just be a wildcard.
He is a Cowboy, so with all of those in the Wild West, he’ll come out with both guns blazing in 2017.