Jason Allen picks NFL

As expected, junior safety Jason Allen has opted to declare for the upcoming NFL Draft rather than return for his senior season of football at Tennessee.

The story is confirmed in today's editions of The Tennessean.

Vol head coach Phillip Fulmer plans to visit Allen at his home in Muscle Shoals, Ala., on Saturday but the chances of changing the player's mind appear remote. Because Allen does not plan to sign with an agent, he has until Jan. 19 to change his mind. He told The Tennessean that is unlikely, however.

A 6-2, 200-pounder, Allen switched from cornerback to free safety during the course of the 2004 season and promptly led the Southeastern Conference in tackles. He is projected as a second-round pick by NFL draft analysts.

With Allen departing, Tennessee's safety situation becomes a glaring concern. Junior Brandon Johnson, the first-team strong safety, was dismissed from the program at midseason for a firearms violation. None of the other safety prospects -- Corey Campbell, Jarod Parrish, Robert Boulware -- ever played well enough to put a lock on a starting job. Because of the unsettled situation, Tennessee could start one freshman, possibly two, at safety in 2005.

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