Ricardo Allen sets down his controller, shuts off his XBOX 360 and breaks out in a grin that appears to stretch halfway to his hometown of Daytona Beach, Fla.
The Purdue cornerback has just defeated his 27th-straight follower from Twitter in NCAA Football 2012 on the XBOX 360 after he issued a challenge on the social network to follow anyone who beat him at the video game.
“When I was coming up, I always wanted to talk to people I looked up to,” Allen said. “I thought it would be nice to prove to the fans that I know they are worth something because they really are. They really make us (football players) more than what we really are. We’re just regular people.”
Allen’s challenge has attracted a wide range of competitors, ranging from kids in elementary school to grown men.
But none have even come close to defeating the All-Big Ten cornerback.
His smallest margin of victory came when he won by four points after he was down by three with 20 seconds remaining.
His most lopsided win was a 140-13 drubbing over someone who yelled at him throughout the entire game.
“I play football myself,” Allen said. “I always pass the ball, and I can read a lot of the coverages. It makes it that much easier knowing about football.”
Allen sticks to the same strategy in each one of his games; he plays with the Florida State Seminoles and runs “four verticals,” a pass play that sends five wide receivers streaking down the field in the Seminoles’ spread offense.
He said EA Sports, the creator of the game, underrates Purdue’s talent too much to play with them.
“(Florida State wide receiver) Kenny Shaw is my boy,” Allen said. “I always throw the ball to him. I’ve met up with (Florida State quarterback) EJ Manuel a couple of times too.”
Allen said didn’t know much about coverages as a freshman running back in high school, but video games helped him transition to cornerback as he learned about different schemes and pass defenses.
”I started watching NCAA to see what everybody actually did and it helped me out going out on the field,” Allen said. “I started to know things already when coaches told me.”
Allen, who is ranked in the top 2,200 in the world at the game on XBOX live, has seen various strategies trying to defeat him.
From running the playclock down to zero to using the highest-ranked teams on the game, Allen has seen every trick in the book and triumphed over all of them.
“I’ve seen everything,” Allen said. “Somebody even used Purdue against me. I couldn’t beat them that bad since that’s my team.”
Allen said he hasn’t had any negative experiences playing his followers online. His opponents are never too frustrated about losing to him and are happy he took the time out of his day to play against them.
“They say I’m one of the cooler players they have ever played against,” Allen said. “A lot of the athletes they try to talk to don’t really talk back to them. Even though I beat them, they thank me for playing them.”
Purdue football 2012 recruit Danny Anthrop stays in touch with his future teammate Allen through the video game.
Anthrop always uses Alabama and its potent run offense because he knows he can’t throw the ball against someone so knowledgeable when it comes to pass defense.
“I have only scored on him two times, and one was an interception in his endzone,” Anthrop said.
A poster on Allen’s desk counts down the days until the 2014 NFL Draft, which is now at 727.
He said his dedication and commitment to be the best on the field translates to the video game.
“I just want to be the best,” Allen said. “I want to be the best cornerback in the nation and the best in the world at NCAA.”