Zach Allen’s childhood dream became reality tonight.
The 6-4, 281-pound Allen, the former New Canaan star and recent Boston College graduate, was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the 65th overall pick, the first in the third round.
“I definitely think they are trying to establish a tough defense and just a tough team in general,” Allen told AZCardinals.com. “I’m just really honored that they think I can help out and help build that identity.”
Allen, a defensive lineman, had a tremendous senior season at Boston College. A second team All-ACC pick, Allen had 15 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. He also had 61 tackles (26 solo), 11 quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one interception.
Allen trained in Phoenix this past winter prior to the NFL Combine.
“From growing up in New England, these cold winters, I don’t know how many more of them I could have handled any more,” Allen told AZCardinals.com. “(Arizona) has its own beauty with the mountains and everything. The people. It’s a growing city, a vibrant city. I’m really glad I get to be there again.”
Allen was selected the Walter Camp 2018 Connecticut Player of the Year. The award is presented to the top college football player who is a resident and/or played scholastically in Connecticut. The award is voted on by the Walter Camp Football Foundation membership.
Allen is the highest selected FCIAC player since Stamford High School’s Vlad Ducasse was picked by the Jets at No. 61 in 2010.
The Cardinals, who finished last in the NFC West with a 3-13 record, play at the Giants on Oct. 20. Their first preseason game is Aug. 8 against the Chargers and their opening regular season game is home against Detroit on Sept. 9.
A quote about making it to the NFL that Allen gave a year ago January, when he was home on break prior to his senior season, now seems ironic.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Allen said. “You put on the jerseys as a kid and kind of imagine, but it’s just another thing that keeps driving me because we’re so close and I don’t want to mess it up.”