The Akron Zips are soon to get a talent on the gridiron that stood tall time and again for the Rockmart Yellow Jackets defense.

In fact, a lot faster than anyone in Ohio might expect and will give the soon to graduate senior defensive and offensive lineman Deacon Allen a chance to get ahead of the rest of his freshmen teammates in the months to come.

Allen, who graduates when the fall semester concludes from Rockmart High School, will start at the Ohio school in the Mid-American conference when their semester starts back in January.

He said he was excited by the opportunity he has to move forward in his football career and with his education.

“It’s a great school. I went up there and I liked the atmosphere, the coaches and the players a lot as well,” he said. “I just like Akron a lot. It feels like a perfect fit.”

Allen was flanked by his mom Angela and dad Alvin, alongside his brother Larry for his signing day with the University of Akron, and celebrated with teammates and coaches in a Dec. 18 party at Rockmart High.

Head Coach Biff Parson said he was glad to see Allen getting the chance to play at the next level, something he wants for every player on his squad.

“Take Akron’s name out of it,” he said. “I’m happy these kids have an opportunity to go to school and continue their education — that’s number one. We tell them that football is a small timeframe of their lifespan,” Parson said. “He’s using football as a tool to get his education. I hope that he understand that, and we’ve talked about that.”

Parson added that “we’re very blessed that Akron saw the talent that we had an opportunity to have here at Rockmart. All we can do is hope and pray that he continues the standard that we have here at Rockmart and hopefully implement that at Akron.”

Allen said he was unsure of what he plans to pursue in his studies, but is leaning toward engineering and communications.

He also looked at Middle Tennesee and East Tennessee State Universities, Savannah State, Troy and several others before he decided to go with Akron.

Those who seek the opportunity Allen now has should simply “go for it” and work hard to achieve, the defensive lineman said.

“I want to thank my teammates for an amazing four years they gave me, playing with them and for them,” he said. “If they keep doing what they’re doing, they’re going to be great.”

Rockmart — who finished the season undefeated in the region and a third 7-AA title and in stayed perfect in their regular schedule. The Jackets were able to overcome Bremen in the first round of the playoffs but fell to the eventual state runner-up Brooks County in the next round at home to end the 2019 season with an 11-1 record.

Allen said he’s going to keep this past year’s run in mind when he heads to the Zips to start 2020.

“It’s such a great family atmosphere out there. Every game and every practice, I loved every second of it,” Allen said.

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