Texas Tech football: Best JUCO tranfers in program history

LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 31: Dakota Allen
LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 31: Dakota Allen /
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To celebrate the season four debut of Netflix’s “Last Chance U,” let’s take a look a the best JUCO transfers to ever play for the Texas Tech football program.

Netflix has dropped season four of its wildly popular documentary Last Chance U which chronicles the 2018 season of the Independence Community College football team.  It is yet another signal that the return of college football is on the horizon.  And of course, Texas Tech football fans are more than familiar with the series.

That’s because former Red Raider Dakota Allen was featured on the series during his one season at East Mississippi Community College.  In the 2016 season, he put up 177 tackles, two sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble while, more importantly, finding himself off the field as viewers were able to see on season two of the series.

Thus far, Allen is the only player to make it to the NFL after being featured on the show as he was drafted in the 7th round of this spring’s draft by the Los Angeles Rams.  What’s more, there’s no doubt that he has been the best JUCO signee to ever play for the Red Raiders.

As a freshman in 2015, the Humble, TX native compiled 87 tackles, second-most on the team, to go along with two interceptions.  At the time, he looked like he had the makings of the next great Red Raider linebacker but that all changed in June of 2016 when he was kicked off the team after he and two teammates were arrested and charged with home burglary.

However, his time with the Red Raiders was not over.  In what could pass as a script for a Hollywood film, after the charges against him were dropped, Allen was given a second chance by head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the university and he made the most of the opportunity.

In 2017, he led Tech with 102 tackles to go along with two sacks and a pair of interceptions while coming up with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.  That earned him second-team All-Big 12 recognition by the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.

Last fall, despite being slowed by various nagging injuries and missing the only game of his career, Allen was named first-team All-Big 12 after registering 73 tackles and two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown against Iowa State.

In March, The Players Tribune published an article by Allen titled “A Letter to NFL GM’s” in which he took responsibility for the actions that landed him at East Mississippi.  The article gives incredible insight into his childhood and the mindset that led him to make the decision that nearly cost him his Texas Tech career.

"“It reminded me that I’m destined to be remembered as more than just a player who was kicked out of Texas Tech, or some kid who appeared on a Netflix show.” Allen wrote at the conclusion of his article. “I know that the best chapter of my story is still waiting to be written. “And I hope it’s with your organization.”"

Without question, Texas Tech football fans are going to remember Allen as more than just a football player.  For a generation of Red Raider fans, he will be the embodiment of perseverance and redemption and an example of how a kid can mature into a man because of what experiences as a college athlete.

On the field, he was also the best JUCO player to ever play for the Red Raiders. Of course, his journey through the JUCO ranks was not the traditional one that the vast majority of JUCO players take as he never lacked the talent or the grades to play at the major college level as is the case with many players that have to go the JUCO route to reach their goals.

Still, the year he spent at East Mississippi is one of the most important chapters of his story because, without it, he would not be the man or the player that he is today.  And he is proof that the JUCO ranks can produce quality players as well as quality individuals.  So let’s take a look at the ten best JUCO players not named Dakota Allen who have suited up for the Red Raiders.