Hamilton linebacker Denico Allen is rated as on of the top player in Ohio's Class of 2009 by Ohio High magazine. He has 16 scholarship offers in hand and is he hitting the camp circuit hard this summer.
We caught up with Allen for the latest on his recruiting.
Denicos Allen, the 6-0, 205-pound linebacker from Hamilton is working his way through the recruiting process. It’s not his favorite thing, but he knows that it’s part of what will carry him to the next level.
“It’s getting a little rough right now,” said Allen. “There are a lot of offers coming in and there will be a lot of decision making I’ll have to do. But my coaches prepared me for it and told me what to expect.”
With 16 offers in his lap, Allen is sorting through which ones will require a visit and which will not. Inside the Big Ten, he holds offers from every team except the big three of Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. He’s not particular to any specific team right now.
“I love to watch college football,” said Allen, who benches 360 pounds. “I’ll watch any team but an Ohio State offer would be lovely.”
Allen has a busy summer planned with camps. In addition to the Ohio State camp, he plans on attending the Cincinnati and Michigan State camps.
“I hope they offer me,” Allen said of Ohio State. “Otherwise, I’ll have to forget about it. We’ll see what happens after (camp) and hopefully, I’ll get an offer. If not, I’ll have to move on.”
He’s not moving on yet though, as he’s currently planning on visiting Ohio State as well.
Allen said: “There are a few schools I want to visit. There’s Ohio State. Michigan State and Illinois, too. With Illinois, I think they’re an up and coming program. I like their coach. I love their linebackers. I just want to learn about their program more so I’m definitely going to check them out.
“I like Michigan State because their coaches and our coaches have a high level of friendship. So if I go up there, I know that I’ll be taken care of and they’ll be with me. I just love the Ohio State atmosphere. I like how they play football. It’s tough football.”
After making 132 tackles last season to go along with six sacks while pulling down three interceptions, it’s obvious that Allen has some skills on the gridiron. The linebacker talked about what he brings to the field when he’s in uniform.
“I play with a lot of heart and intensity,” said Allen. “I get after it and I play fast. I want to work on my speed a little more and shedding blocks. I’m pretty good at shedding, but I can improve it. For college, I’ll definitely have to improve it.
“Give Allen a bit more size and he would be more than just a highly recruited regional linebacker,” according the Scouts, Inc. evaluation. “He lacks great height but is well-built and put together. This kid is constantly around the football making plays and is extremely quick in the short-range. Plays fast, physical and with good toughness between the tackles but projects to slide outside in college due to his smaller measurable.”
The size issue was also something that Ohio High magazine Recruiting Editor Duane Long talked about in his assessment of Allen.
“Maybe the best pure defensive player in Ohio,” said Long. Great instincts, a hitter and a great tackler. If he were bigger and sure to be a linebacker he would be a top 10 player.”
Long has him ranked as No. 13 in Ohio for the 2009 class.
Hamilton’s head football coach Jim Place sees a terrific player as well and more.
“He’s very tough,” said Place. “He’s awesome to watch and he’s one of the highest character kids in our school. What the colleges like about him is that he flat-out finds the ball, then he slips blocks and he flies to the ball. He’s got great speed. He’s always around the ball. He plugs the hole.”
Allen hopes to make his decision within the first couple of games of his senior season this fall.
He plans to retake the ACT and is considering majoring in business in college.