Dracut’s French a Mix of Brains, Brawn
DRACUT -- Allyn French’s blend of power and speed provides Dracut High with a game-breaking presence on offense and defense.
But the assets that have helped make this senior standout evolve into a dominating force on the gridiron don’t stop at the neckline. The Middies’ two-year captain has an extremely high football IQ. French, a starter at inside linebacker and running back, relies on his brain power as much as his brawn when it comes to being a difference-maker in all facets of the game.
“He’s just a true leader in our program, without question,” said Dracut coach Jay Rivers. “He’s a vocal leader. He leads by his mannerism on the field. He always has a positive body language and it rubs off on the other kids. He leads by example through his work ethic.
“He’s very intelligent. Both sides of the football he pretty much knows everyone’s responsibility. If we miss an alignment, he’s able to get kids set up. But if the snap happens before we can get aligned, he’ll adjust and get to the hole the play is being run. His ability to see things and make plays is something special.”
French earned a varsity letter as a freshman, playing primarily on special teams. He was a two-way starter as a sophomore and junior, earning a berth on the MVC all-conference team at linebacker both seasons.
This 5-foot-9, 210-pound dynamo entered his senior campaign with 301 career tackles, 17 of which were for loss, including two sacks. On offense, French delivers as many blows as he receives while often taking the truck route to glory between the tackles. French has rushed for over 1,000 yards during his career, averaging an impressive 5.38 yards per carry.
In Dracut’s season-opening 34-7 victory over Westford Academy, French ripped off a 44-yard touchdown run while rushing for 163 yards and was in on nine tackles.
Dracut (1-0) will host Chelmsford (0-2) in an MVC Division 2 game Friday at 7 p.m.
“He’s tough,” said Rivers. “He’s hard-nosed. He’s an incredible leader. Think of all the adjectives you would use talking about a football player, and they all describe him. He’s a throwback. He’s a great talent.”
In fact, French is a talent for all seasons. He wrestles in the winter and is a high-scoring midfielder on the lacrosse team in the spring. Last season, French tallied 85 points (44 goals) while earning MVC all-conference honors in lacrosse.
French is a National Honor Society student with a 3.84 grade-point-average. He has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Merrimack College.
“Most of the time I’ve been here, I’ve predominantly played linebacker,” said French. “But either side of the ball, wherever they need me, I’ll be there.
“I like to think I work harder than the guy across from me all the time. We have some great coaches. They know their stuff. They definitely help how I play and the mentality I play with. They’ve helped me play faster and be a better athlete.”
Dracut made the MIAA playoffs last year, giving eventual Division 4 state champion Melrose all it could handle in a North Sectional quarterfinal before losing, 14-10. The Middies finished the season with a 39-31 win over a talented Methuen club on Thanksgiving.
Those games supplied French and his teammates with lots of momentum heading into this season. French is determined to help the Middies’ program take the next step in its development.
“Now more than at any time since I’ve been here we have more weapons and more viable options to get the ball to,” said French. “We have guys who can make big plays and get done what we need to get done to win.
“We have some great athletes. A lot of it is guys putting in the work for the three and four years they’ve been here. Staying on top things and doing the right things we’ve been able to keep a pretty solid group together. We’re excited to see what we can accomplish this season.”
Never one to rest on his laurels, French works as hard at practice as he does on Friday night.
“He’s very coachable,” said Rivers. “He’s the most polished kid out there in whatever drill we’re doing. As polished as he is, he still allows himself to be coached. The other kids see that. They see that Allyn is getting coached up and he doesn’t pout about it.
“Every rep he takes is the most important rep to him. He wants to get better and develop his skills. That’s why he’s such a good player. He wants to be better than everybody else and refuses to let anybody be better than him. That’s why he’s the total package as a student-athlete.”
Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi