Counting down the weekdays to Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 in Houston, we look back at the 50 greatest Super Bowl competitors from the ASN family of schools as calculated one year ago. Today: 28.
At Louisiana Tech, Ryan Allen twice captured the Ray Guy Award (2011, 2012) as college football's best punter.
Despite that, the Salem, Ore., native went undrafted in 2013, although two other punters — Jeff Locke and Sam Martin — were nabbed in the fifth round.
Allen then signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots and went to work becoming one of the NFL's best punters.
Pats head coach Bill Belichick, not known for his effusive praise, described Allen to the Boston Globe in 2014 as a "guy that works really hard at his job, knows his job, really studies everything about it; obviously the mechanics of punting, but also the situational part of it."
His work habits paid off in Super Bowl XLIX when he punted four times for 196 yards, including a key 64-yarder that set the Super Bowl record for the longest punt.
Field position on the heels of Allen's kicks were critical as the Patriots notched a 28-24 victory over the Seahawks for the NFL title.
"As long as you're paying attention," Allen told the Globe, "you should always keep improving and that's where I am and that's where I want to stay."
Tom Flynn is a freelance writer based in Baltimore. Follow him on Twitter at @tomflynn51.