Javorius Allen’s emergence as USC’s top tailback this season was not lost on several players who will be participating in Monday’s Bowl Championship Series title game.
Ryan White, a senior defensive back for Auburn, played with Allen at Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln High, where Allen got the nickname “Buck.”
Allen, a third-year sophomore, got his first significant playing time in the Trojans’ sixth game against Arizona, and he finished the season with 785 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. He was voted the team’s most valuable player.
“I’m not surprised at all by what Buck did,” White said. “He’s been doing it since high school. . . . We were just waiting for him to break out.”
White said he counseled his friend to remain patient when Allen was frustrated by lack of playing time.
“I just told him, ‘You have to stay with it, man,’ ” White said. “I was going through the same type of stuff here at Auburn, but I stuck with it and fought through it and I’m reaping” the benefits.
White said he was excited on Nov. 1 when Allen rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-14 victory at Oregon State.
“I was getting all these texts: ‘You see Buck? You see Buck?’ ” White said. “I turned on the TV and, man, he was going off.
“So I got all my teammates and was like, ‘You see that?’ Ever since then, man, it’s been great.”
Auburn defensive back T.J. Davis, a redshirt freshman, played at Tallahassee Godby High.
“I’m seeing him on ESPN highlights,” Davis said of Allen. “He represents for Tallahassee.”