WKU football suffered a significant roster loss Tuesday, as freshman wide receiver Manuel "Manny" Allen, a former four-star recruit, entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal, according to 247Sports' 2019 College Football Transfer Portal.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound wideout joined WKU's 2019 recruiting class during the early signing period in December.
"Manny's kind of that elusive guy that's savvy and can get open and find windows and can do something with it when he catches," head coach Tyson Helton said about the incoming receiver on Dec. 19. "He'll be an early enrollee as well, and to get the opportunity to work with him in the spring and kind of see what he can do, we're looking forward to it."
Allen participated in Helton's first spring practice at the helm, drawing praise from the noted offensive strategist very early on as a standout among the squad's freshman class.
"I tell you what, I liked number five — Manny," Helton said after the first spring practice session on March 12. "Manny did a nice job, the new wideout. Did a really nice job."
Allen showed flashes of potential brilliance in the annual Red vs. White Spring Game on April 13, snagging a 30-yard touchdown catch from redshirt sophomore quarterback Davis Shanley that kicked off the White team's rally from a 14-0 deficit. Allen and his former teammates went on to win the game, 28-21.
Allen last played at Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, California, collecting 23 receptions for 452 yards and two touchdowns in his final prep season. During two prior seasons at Centennial High School in Corona, California, Allen totalled 68 catches for 989 yards and 12 touchdowns.
In an Athlon Sports article titled "Conference USA Football 2019 Predictions," editor Mark Ross tabbed Allen as his preseason pick in the "Top Freshman" category just 13 days ago.
Now, Allen has decided to take his raw talent elsewhere. Rated a four-star by ESPN in the Class of 2018 and a three-star by 247Sports and Rivals once he reclassified to the Class of 2019, the highly touted wide receiver was committed to three different schools — Southern California, Nebraska and Louisville — at various intervals before he signed a letter of intent with WKU late last year.
Despite his status as a 2019 recruit, Allen may have to sit out this fall as a transfer. Allen won't lose a year of eligibility, but his new school will likely need to pursue a waiver that would grant him immediate eligibility for the upcoming football season at his next stop.