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Allison looking to take over as NDSU’s top cornerback

FARGO -- The defensive backs were the last ones to leave the North Dakota State football practice bubble late Friday morning. There was still work to be done on some of the subtle steps of playing the position.Especially for the cornerbacks, who ...

FARGO - The defensive backs were the last ones to leave the North Dakota State football practice bubble late Friday morning. There was still work to be done on some of the subtle steps of playing the position.
Especially for the cornerbacks, who for the first time since 2011 will go into a season without a returning decorated player. Marcus Williams parlayed his fine 2010 freshman year into three more seasons of excellence at NDSU and a promising start after two years in the NFL. Those were the two years that CJ Smith took over Williams’ role as the “shutdown corner,” a term given to the cornerback that consistently goes against the other team’s top receiver.
This year?
The job is open.
It appears sophomore Jalen Allison will get the first opportunity.

“Hopefully somebody can step up, take (Smith’s) spot and lock down every team’s best guy,” Allison said, “so everybody else can do their thing.”
NDSU will need more than Allison to step up - the Bison also lost senior cornerback Jordan Champion and, for the first time in probably a long time, the secondary does not have a senior.
“We’ll get there,” Allison said. “It’s going well. We’re practicing hard, and we’re getting better.”
Bison head coach Chris Klieman considered taking the redshirt off of Allison in August of 2014. Allison spent the year as a redshirt and was a regular backup last season.
He played in all 15 games, starting three when Smith was injured. He had one interception, but it was a key play in NDSU’s second-round playoff win over Montana. He returned it 30 yards for a touchdown giving the Bison a two-score lead and the momentum-shifting play sparked a 37-6 win.
Allison also had six pass breakups, which was tied for fourth-best on the team. NDSU will be looking for more along the lines of Smith’s 16 pass breakups of last season.
“The big challenge for Jalen is to see how much his game has progressed,” Klieman said.
Certainly, being behind a guy like Smith helped the progress.
“Patience is the main thing I learned from him,” Allison said, “because if you’re out of control, the receiver can do anything to you. If you’re patient, you can stay with anybody the whole way.”
Sophomore Dakota Reid is listed as the other starting cornerback. The Bison moved safety Jaylaan Wimbush to corner and the coaches have high hopes for redshirt freshman Dom Davis.
The pressure of being the shutdown guy, however, is fine with Allison.
“That’s why I came to this school,” he said. “You have to want to be great.”

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