Former Arkansas Quarterback To Suit Up in Professional Spring League

Quarterback Austin Allen looks to pass the ball against Missouri during Senior Day on Nov. 24, 2017, Allen's final game as a Hog.

The Salt Lake Stallions of the Alliance of American Football will have a familiar name to Razorback fans on its roster for the league’s inaugural season.

Austin Allen was picked up by the Stallions on Nov. 27 in the league’s protect-or-pick quarterback draft, where Allen was was chosen away from the Memphis Express, the AAF team he was initially signed to.

This will be Allen’s first shot at professional football since leaving Arkansas. Allen played his last season with the Hogs in 2017 and signed with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April after going undrafted. He was waived from the team Sept. 1.

Allen was the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks in his last two seasons and team captain his senior year. He played in a total of 29 games as an upperclassman, starting 21 of them. The Fayetteville native is ranked No. 3 in career completion percentage at Arkansas with 59 percent of his passes finding its targets. He’s also No. 8 in career passing yards, with 5,045, and No. 7 in career passing touchdowns with 36.

Per AAF rules, Allen is expected to get a three-year, non-guaranteed contract worth $250,000 plus health insurance with an escape clause to go to the NFL.

Allen’s former team, the Memphis Express, will still have three former Razorback players on its roster they acquired in a territorial draft: linebacker Dwayne Eugene (2014-2017), wide receiver Javontee Herndon (2010-2013) and defensive end Jamichael Winston (2013-2016).

What is the AAF?

Announced in March 2018 and founded by former NFL general manager Bill Polian and television/film producer Charlie Ebersol, son of the famed NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol, the AAF will begin its first season on Feb. 9, 2019, one week after the Super Bowl.

Eight teams are featured in the league: The Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Orlando Apollos, Arizona Hotshots, Memphis Express, Salt Lake City Stallions, San Antonio Commanders, and the San Diego Fleet. These eight teams will play out a 12-week season that will conclude with a four-team playoff and a championship game planned for April 26-28, 2019, according to the AFF’s official website.

The AAF was founded on the basis of being an alternative to the NFL with different rules. On the field, all teams must attempt two-point conversions after each touchdown; there will be no extra point kicks. There will also be no kickoffs. Instead, play will begin on each team's own 25-yard line, the same as touchbacks in the NFL and NCAA. In lieu of an onside kick, a team can keep possession of the ball by attempting a scrimmage play from its own 35-yard line and gaining at least 10 yards. The play clock will run only 30 seconds, 10 seconds shorter than in the NFL. Passing rules are the same as in the NCAA and CFL, in which catches are made with one foot inbounds, unlike the NFL, where they must have both feet inbounds.

Outside the field, broadcasts of the games will feature no television timeouts and 60 percent fewer commercials than NFL games. In addition, outside organizations will handle head-safety protocols.

Per the AAF, the league will also provide players with a comprehensive bonus system, post-football career planning as well as counseling and scholarship support for postsecondary education.

Games will be able to be streamed live from the league’s official app. CBS will air the season opener and championship game with CBS Sports Network showing one game a week as well.

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