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Stephens battling injuries
SoVaNow.com / October 04, 2012Former Comet standout Allen Stephens has battled through a frustrating senior season at Morgan State, working through the impact of a shoulder injury.
Stephens, who had previously had a leading role on defense for the Bears, was limited to special teams duty - punt kick and kickoff coverage - during Morgan State’s dramatic win in Greensboro last week over North Carolina A&T.
Stephens got on the field for the last play, helping to contain A&T on the final kickoff, after Morgan State had sealed the 21-18 win over the Aggies on an electrifying 32-yard scoring pass from quarterback Robert Council to wideout Andrew King.
Morgan State, now 1-2 after that win over the Aggies, hopes to build its momentum in MEAC play with the dramatic late offense. MSU scored the winning touchdown with ten seconds left in regulation.
Stephens, meanwhile, has his own challenges ahead.
Stephens’ position coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers’ coach Alonzo Lee, explained afterwards that Stephens was limited due to his injury situation. “He was able to help us on special teams,” said Lee. Stephens had a possible labral tear in his left shoulder, and Lee noted, “this is the first week back from (the injury issue). We’ve got a long season,” said the Morgan State assistant.
Stephens “is progressing and doing well. Being his senior year, he’s got a big class schedule on him also. He’s en route to graduating.
“He’s coming along real well. Unfortunately, he had the shoulder injury. He got hurt last week ... he re-aggravated (the shoulder) in the second week against Buffalo. He’s been kind of down. We’re hoping we’re able to get him back,” said the coach.
Stephens has a role in the Bears scheme, after emerging as the leading tackler on the MSU defense a year ago.
Lee, discussing Stephens’ NFL prospects, said, “he has potential. But, basically, that’s up to him. He’s working hard and he’s trying to do ... some different things. In the end, he’ll be able to go out and get an opportunity.”
Lee noted Stephens can contribute more to MSU’s defensive scheme once he gets completely healthy.
Stephens had been putting up respectable numbers until the injury. Stephens has played in three of four games for Morgan State and is third on the team in tackles with 20, 13 solo and seven assisted. The Bears return to action this weekend at Savannah State.
Stephens, interviewed briefly after last Thursday’s game, explained how his shoulder is progressing.
Stephens was able to contribute despite the injury, apparently resulting from a stinger.
“I’ve got to keep working hard and continue my role on the football team,” said Stephens, who played on punt kicks and kickoffs against A&T. Stephens, who has had one start so far in 2012, said of his current career trajectory, said, “It could always be better. I’ve stuck with my plan. I was coming to Morgan State and try to make it the best I can. I’m looking to finishing out my senior year with a good impression at Morgan State.” Stephens plans to graduate and hopes to get an NFL look. But the most important aspect of his career here is to leave Morgan State with his degree.
Stephens, slowed by injury, has not had the kind of impact he had hoped for in his senior season, and that could impact his NFL aspirations. As a junior in 2011, Stephens led the Bears in tackles with 80 tackles, including 38 solo hits.
Stephens, the son of Sharon and Willie Stephens Jr., is majoring in broadcast and integrated media production.
Allen’s younger brother, Tyler, is the starting quarterback for the HCHS varsity football team.
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