KEARNEY — Defensive end Hinwa Allieu has been a productive player in his first three years for the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
With Allieu entering his final year, the three-year starter has the size and intangibles to provide even more production and be a disruptive force for the Lopers this season. Developing consistency will be a critical component for Allieu, if he wants to accomplish his goal of being one of the top defensive lineman in the MIAA.
"I just think I need to have a high motor and keep going each play," Allieu said. "Don’t take any plays off and just play like it’s my last play because it could be."
In preparation for his final collegiate season, Allieu dedicate time to improving his strength and speed in the offseason. Allieu added 20 pounds to his frame and entered preseason camp at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds.
Allieu grew up in the West African country of Sierra Leone. In 2013, he relocated to Maryland, which is where he first started playing football as a sophomore in high school. He joined the Lopers as a freshman in 2016 and has physically matured since his arrival. He measured 6-4, 240 pounds his freshman year.
"He’s worked hard all summer," coach Josh Lynn said. "There’s never a question with Hinwa and his work ethic and how he approaches the game."
Allieu started at defensive end as a true freshman. He recorded 45 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, four quarterback hurries and one sack for the Lopers in 2016.
He showed growth his sophomore year when he earned third-team All-MIAA. He started all 11 games and finished the season with 32 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, five QB hurries and a team-high 5.5 sacks.
Last season, Allieu continued to produce as a starter on a talented defensive line. He accumulated 43 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, three QB hurries and 4.5 sacks. His received honorable mention All-MIAA last season.
The Lopers’ defensive line was the strongest position group on the team last year. With the return of 6-1, 325-pound senior starting nose guard Jordan Ingraham and depth and experience behind the starting unit, the Lopers’ defensive line has high expectations this season.
"I feel better than ever," Allieu said. "I am starting to get used to the system. I think as a whole defense we feel great going into the season. We know we are going to be productive.
"We are one of the top defenses in the MIAA. I think we proved it each year. I think this year is the time for us to step it up a little bit and become the best and not just one of the best."
Allieu has the size and intangibles professional teams dream about. He has the aspirations to play at the next level, and a season filled with elite production, would open doors for Allieu.
The Lopers will occasionally shift Allieu to an inside spot on the defensive line this season. It is part of the reason Allieu added strength to his frame this offseason. Playing on the inside requires players to shed blocks quicker and be more reactive to the play.
Regardless of where Allieu lines up on the defensive line, the Lopers are counting on him to be one of their top players this season.
"He’s continued to get better every year he’s been here," Lynn said. "He needs to go in there and play like an All-MIAA defensive lineman (this season)."
UNK Defensive Linemen
RETURNERS — Hinwa Allieu, Sr., Gaithersburg, Md.; Jordan Ingraham, Sr., Miami; Shane Henderson, R-Jr., Elkhorn; Blake Schroeder, R-Jr., Holdrege; Nate Bartling, R-So., Elm Creek; Baylor Hellmuth, R-So., Hershey; Larry Washington, R-So., Chicago; Griffin Wenz, R-Fr., Grand Island; Johnny Collins, R-Fr., Chicago; Ethan Mach, R-Fr., Crete.
NEWCOMERS — Freeman Coleman, R-Sr., Omaha; Dakari Monegain-Box, R-Jr., Denver; Terriek Roberts, Jr., Denver; Kahseem Stevenson, R-So., Denver’ Tell Spies, R-Fr., Mullen; Ty Beaman, Fr., Berthoud, Colo.; Ben Earnest, Fr., Littleton, Colo.; Colin Giron, Fr., McCook; Zach Pettit, Fr., Sidney.