Travis Allen turned down opportunities to play Division II football for a chance to pursue a degree from the highly regarded business school at Notre Dame.
That path also led the 2012 Eastern High valedictorian back to the football field, where he has been a walk-on wide receiver for the unbeaten and top-ranked Irish this season.
“It wasn’t my plan initially (to play football). I was just going to go to school,” said Allen, who is on a nearly full-ride academic scholarship. “A couple people told me I should try it out and see how it went. I decided to try it and it worked out.”
The season has worked out for Allen and for the Irish, who will play No. 2 Alabama on Monday night in Miami in the BCS National Championship game.
Allen joined the Irish after they returned from their season-opening win against Navy in Ireland. He hasn’t played in any games, but he has done scout team work in practice, helping the starters prepare for specific opponents. He simulated the likes of Michigan’s Roy Roundtree and other receivers throughout the course of the season.
And knowing that he’s at least played a small role in the Fighting Irish’s special season has been enjoyable.
“For me it was special, definitely,” said Allen, who was a two-time honorable mention all-league receiver for the Quakers in high school. “I didn’t know that we’d make the national championship. It’s always a goal, but when it actually happens it’s pretty special.
“Just being able to be part of that team was great and being able to suit up. I always wanted to play Division I football and never got the offers to play. For that to happen was special for me.”
Despite a desire to one day play in a game, Allen, whose older brother Tyler is a kick returner at Eastern Michigan, is undecided if he will continue playing for the Irish in the coming years.
“It’s definitely a goal (to get on the field). I have to figure out if I’m going to continue to do it,” Allen said. “As fun as it was, you just gotta stay on top of your school stuff and there’s a lot of other things going on as a walk-on. It’s definitely something (I’m going) to think about before we start school again.”