University of Central Arkansas linebacker is a coach’s dream, an athletic director’s poster child and a tribute to dedication perseverance.
He came into college football off the radar.
He never looked at it that way.
Allison, from Jonesboro but a two-time all-state player at Stuttgart because of a family connection, got very few college recruiting offers.
He’s only at UCA primarily because of Baylor University basketball coach Kim Mulkey, who was a friend of Conque’s when both were assistants at Louisiana Tech.
Mulkey, who coached Seth’s sister, Rachel (who is playing pro basketball overseas), admitted she did not know Seth when she phoned Conque on Seth’s behalf. "But I know the family and I know Rachel Allison had one of the best attitudes and work ethics of any player I’ve ever coached," she told Conque, who agreed to give the linebacker a chance to walk on and redshirt in 2008.
In 2010, he earned All Southland Conference honorable mention honors as a safety. Last season, at linebacker, he led the team in tackles, earned second-team All-American honors, first-team All-SLC honors and made the conference’s All-Academic team for the second straight year.
He graduated last year with a degree in finance and is playing this year as a graduate student.
He’s a projected All-American this season and last week was recognized as UCA’s Male Athlete of the Year for 2011.
"It’s been a fun ride and I’ve been blessed after starting as a walk-on," he said. "I felt in the recruiting process I was overlooked. But that helped me push myself. I was better than they (the recruiters) thought."
Being a graduate student has allowed him to devote more time to football, especially film and video student, which he credits as a key to his success. He knows he’s not the biggest (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) or the fastest. But he’s one of the smartest, rarely making an assignment mistake.
"One of the things we’ve had to work with on Seth is to get him to just be concerned with what he’s doing and not try to do everybody else’s job," said UCA defensive coordinator Matt Williamson.
"Film study is how I’m able to get better," he said. "You get out what you put in. You watch and see a certain player do something before th snap, then it’s becomes second nature to recognize and react to it on the field. I’ve always liked being an underdog and I think the work in the film room has given me an edge."
He’s exciting about help bringing an edge to this UCA team.
"I know this is the best summer we have had since I’ve been here," he said. "Most of the team was here and they put in extra workouts and extra time. Everbody is hoping to make in farther (than the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs). Losing to Montana (in the quarterfinals) left a bitter taste in our mouths last year. It added to it when Sam Houston State, a team from our conference, played for the national championship. We feel we can be that team this year."
A coach on the field, Allison might consider coaching someday with a business career on which to fall back.
"My experience has helped me see the whole picture," he said. "Just because someone doesn’t have certain physical attributes doesn’t mean he can’t play."