When senior running back Dominick Bragalone went down with an injury earlier in the season that caused him to miss Lehigh’s game versus Navy, offensive coordinator Scott Brisson knew just who would replace him.
Rashawn Allen stepped in for the Mountain Hawks and ripped off a 75-yard touchdown on Lehigh’s first play from scrimmage.
A highly touted prospect from Canton, Michigan, Allen, a freshman running back, has already proven his on-field abilities. In his first three appearances, Allen rushed for 189 yards on 30 attempts, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns.
Allen’s work ethic and skill set have earned him significant playing time in recent games. His huge performance against Navy attested to his early talent as a freshman.
“Over the summer I had been preparing myself to get playing time,” Allen said. “That was one of my goals to start this year and actively contribute to the team’s offense. When I finally found out that I would be getting a lot of playing time as a freshman, I was excited but I also felt ready.”
Brisson said he never expected to start a freshman against Navy, however, Allen proved himself and was the clear choice when Bragalone was unable to play.
Allen quickly realized the differences between high school and college football, which he said made the adjustment to a Division I team a bit easier.
To further ease his adjustment, Allen built a close relationship with Lehigh’s all-time leading rusher, Bragalone, who has acted as a leader and role model for Allen during his transition.
“I’ve already learned a lot from playing behind (Bragalone),” Allen said. “He’s an all-American running back, and I see why. He helped me understand the offense and everything when I came in. He’s a very quiet and humble guy but he’s also very funny.”
Brisson said Allen’s mentality as a new member on the team emulates what he saw in Bragalone during his freshman season. He said he hasn’t seen a freshman as poised, prepared and eager to play since Bragalone, that is until Allen came around.
Junior offensive lineman Derek Lomax said the dynamic between Bragalone and Allen has been instrumental in the team’s offensive attack.
“They’re an offensive lineman’s dream because they have so much ability,” Lomax said. “They can make us look right a lot of times and make our jobs a lot easier.”
Allen’s contributions to the team extend beyond his athletic abilities. Lomax said that he is always fun to be around at practice and brings great energy to the team.
Despite his impactful start, Allen knows this is only the beginning.
“I can’t say for certain, but I do have record-breaking plans coming up,” Allen said.