msThe steepest route to the NFL is as an undrafted free agent, but Belleville East graduate and former Southern Illinois University Carbondale star Chase Allen completed the climb.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound middle linebacker led the Miami Dolphins in tackles through four preseason games. His 13-stop performance against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday made him the NFL’s top preseason tackler with 32.
Allen learned Saturday that he had made the Dolphins’ final cut and will be part of their 53-man roster when they play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at noon next Sunday.
Attempts to reach Allen on Saturday night were not successful.
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A 2012 East graduate and first-team BND All-Area pick, Allen is one of of just two Salukis to lead SIUC in tackles three straight years. He was a second team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference pick as a junior.
Allen was considered a potential late-round pick in the NFL Draft in April, buoyed by his performance at the NFL Pro Day event at Northwestern University.
Allen was clocked at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which would have been the third-best at his position among the linebackers who were invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Allen went undrafted, but was invited to participate in Dolphins’ training camp as a free agent.
Allen was one of five undrafted free agents kept by the Dolphins and second-year coach Adam Gase. He’s the fifth former SIUC player in the last 10 years to earn a spot on an NFL roster as an undrafted free agent.
Brian Hill, the Belleville West graduate drafted in the fifth round by the Atlanta Falcons, also made the final cut.
The University of Wyoming’s all-time leading rusher had 41 yards on 26 carries during the preseason before suffering an injury that forced him to miss the final preseason game.
Atlanta opens the season in Chicago at noon next Sunday.
East St. Louis High and Jackson State graduate Dan Williams, who was in camp with the New York Jets, was waived Saturday.
Williams was brought in to bolster the Jets’ receiving corps, but he suffered a concussion in practice Aug. 17 and was unable to play in a preseason game.
As expected, Edwardsville High graduate Vincent Valentine made the New England Patriots roster at defensive tackle.
Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, who played at Belleville East as a freshman before moving to California and starring at USC, made the Tennessee Titans’ roster. Jackson was the Titans’ first-round pick in the draft.