Star remains humble as his beginnings at Empire college

  • Newly inducted to the NFL Hall of Famer and SSU alum Larry Allen is all smiles as he is introduced in the VIP tent at the SSU basketball game on Saturday night Feb. 9, 2013. Scott Manchester / The Press Democrat

It was 2008 and Jacob Harris was on a tour of college campuses. He had visited Humboldt State and Chico State and they were all nice and lovely, each campus tour guide quick to point out famous alumni as well as iconic buildings and professors of high academic distinction. When Harris began his tour at SSU, he never forgot the first thing out of the man's mouth as he tried to sell Sonoma State.

"Larry Allen went to school here," the tour guide told the group.

Larry Allen Named To Hall Of Fame


That was the very, very first thing the tour guide said, remembered Harris, now a senior majoring in business at SSU. Harris not only was struck with the placement of Allen above all of SSU's marketable attributes, but it was the way the tour guide said it. With conviction, pride and a certainty that Allen's two years at the Rohnert Park campus (1992-1993) would be forever a lure impossible for undecided students to resist.

"Yes," Harris said Saturday night, "I am a little star struck."

Harris indeed had big eyes when Allen — named last week to Pro Football's Hall of Fame — walked into the VIP tent adjacent to the gym. It was Pack The Den, an athletic fund raiser. SSU would play Chico State and the hook to the evening was Allen, viewed as the best offensive guard in NFL history, the strongest player to ever play the game and, as John Madden once said, quite possibly the greatest offensive lineman in league history.

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