Nothing was ever given to Josh Allen. The Buffalo Bills quarterback had to fight for a scholarship and battle for a starting job. Allen has always faced adversity and has been able to overcome it. Allen has relied on one piece of advice from his high school football coach to help keep him in check.
Josh Allen’s football career
He has no touch. He isn’t accurate. Josh Allen has heard all the negatives. Allen had clearly done something right after playing three years of college football at Wyoming. The Buffalo Bills selected the 6-foot-5, strong-armed quarterback with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
Allen played in 12 games as a rookie, starting 11 of them. The Bills went 5-6 in those games he started and Allen threw 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He completed 52.8% of his passes. Allen vastly improved during his second year in the NFL.
Allen guided the Bills to a 10-6 record and a berth in the postseason in 2019. He threw 20 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. His completion percentage jumped to 58.8% and he threw for 3,089 yards. Through two games this season, Allen and the Bills are 2-0 and his completion percentage is 70%. He leads the league with 729 passing yards and has six touchdowns with no interceptions.
Allen’s goal was to play football at Fresno State
Josh Allen grew up 40 miles from Fresno, California, and it was always his dream to play football at Fresno State. According to his Pop Warner coach Chauncey Lee, he’d have done anything to play there. “From 8 or 9 years old, you knew he wanted to go to Fresno State,” said Lee to The Buffalo News. “This kid was dying to play there. The parents probably would have paid his tuition. He didn’t even need a scholarship.”
The one problem was that Fresno wasn’t interested. “Yeah, they blew it,” Allen’s coach at Firebaugh High School, Bill Magnusson, said. “Fresno State missed.” Fresno wasn’t the only school to miss. Allen didn’t receive one single offer from a four-year school. Allen sent hundred and hundreds of emails to Division 1 coaches and coordinators and only Wyoming responded, and that came after a recruit bailed out.
Magnusson said the rejection has made Allen a better player. “Some people think because you have an easier path, you must’ve been better than everybody else,” Magnusson said. “The people I’ve known that are the greatest are the ones that have had the hardest path. He’s had an uphill climb, but that’s made him better.”
Magnusson’s advice has stuck with Allen
Josh Allen hasn’t gone the I-told-you-so route in the NFL, but it wasn’t always that way. Initially, he was angry at those who doubted him. “I just wanted to go out there and beat everybody because I hated them,” Allen said to The Buffalo News. “I wanted to prove myself that way, and I was doing it for all the wrong reasons.”
Allen’s high school coach Bill Magnusson knew he had to change Allen’s approach. He gave him a small piece of advice that Allen still follows: Don’t take the field to prove doubters wrong, prove your supporters right.
“It wasn’t about going out there to embarrass people anymore,” Allen said. “It was about having fun, and at the same time, I happened to be damn good at it.