but we're getting a tad local with our "most sought-after receivers" here.
Catching Up With Devon Allen
Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep WR Devon Allen is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after receivers in the
county country, adding six new offers to an already-impressive list in the two weeks since we last spoke. Rivals.com's #110 overall player recently picked up offers from Arkansas, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, UCLA, and Vanderbilt after earning a Michigan offer on signing day. I caught up with Devon a couple night ago to discuss his recruitment, interest in Michigan, and the day-to-day grind of being a highly-touted recruit:
ACE: How is everything going in your recruitment, and who have you picked up offers from lately?
DEVON: It's going pretty well. Just in the last couple of weeks Oklahoma State offered, UCLA, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Notre Dame. Those are the newest.
ACE: You're getting a lot of offers from schools that aren't close to home. Is distance going to be a factor at all for you in your recruitment?
DEVON: I've talked to my dad before this process happened about really trying to get out of state, maybe, and get away from the family for at least for years, kinda do my own thing. It's definitely not a factor. I wouldn't mind staying in state either, I'm not opposed to staying in state.
ACE: When I last talked to you, you'd only been on visits to Stanford and Arizona State. Have you been anywhere else in the last couple of weeks?
DEVON: Yeah, I've been to USC, and I was up at U-Dub [Washington] this weekend.
ACE: Are there any other schools you'd like to visit in the future?
DEVON: I think I'm trying to plan a visit to Arkansas with Tyler Bruggman, my quarterback, over spring break. Other than that I'm going to try to get to a few other schools in the Midwest. They're all by each other—Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State—all those schools are all around the same area, so I'll probably fly out there and then drive from place to place.
ACE: When we talked earlier, you said the Michigan offer sort of came out of the blue. Have you been in contact with the Wolverines more lately, and who are you talking to?
DEVON: Yeah, I talk to Coach Ferrigno once a week or so, and we talk on Facebook about every couple days, so the relationship is being built. They're asking me how I'm doing in track and everything. It's going pretty well. Michigan is definitely a top gun, and I definitely think that they have a great tradition and they always have great football, so you can't really be mad at that at all.
ACE: When you talk to Coach Ferrigno, what does he tell you about the school and your potential role with the team?
DEVON: He says that they always win football games, which is a big, big decision-maker, going to a place that wins. They talk about how they would use me in the offense, probably as a deep threat, playmaker, maybe a returner sometime in the future.
ACE: Do you have any favorites at this point in the process or are you still pretty open?
DEVON: I'm still pretty wide open. Like I said, I've only visited four schools, so it's really hard to tell. All the schools I've visited have been awesome and great; I just love the feel of being on a college campus. I'm pretty sure that most of the colleges that I visit in the future will be like that, too, so it's really going to be based on where I'm going to want to live for four or five years. Even if I didn't have football, if I'm going to go to school there also, that's going to be a big decision factor. But I don't really have any favorites right now.
ACE: Are there any schools that are really pushing for you harder than others?
DEVON: No, not really. I get a lot of mail from ASU, because I guess they're really pushing hard for a lot of the in-state guys to stay. I get a hand-written letter from all of the coaching staff at least once every two weeks, so that's really nice. I get hand-written letters from all the other schools, also, on a consistent basis; from Michigan, ASU, Stanford, Purdue, and U-Dub, those are probably the top five that have been the most interested in me right now. Arkansas, I talk to Coach K [I'm assuming this is Chris Klenakis] a lot, he keeps on me every couple of days, asking me to call him, so I talk to him a lot. We're kind of building a relationship, too.
ACE: I know track is a big thing for you. How is track season going so far, and is that your main focus at this point?
DEVON: Yeah, that's pretty much the focus right now. It's going great. We had our first meet today. It wasn't a big meet, it was just a dual meet, so I did just the 300-meter hurdles and the 4 x 400, just to get some conditioning in, but other than that it's going great. It's definitely something I'll want to do in the future, in college. Most of the schools I've talked to have been pretty cool with the idea of me running and playing football. I suspect that most of them will be okay because speed goes hand-in-hand on the football field.
ACE: What are your goals for track this year?
DEVON: The real, main goal this year is in my 200, I want to go into the 20-second range, so anything [like] 20.7, 20.8, would be my goal because once you get into that time your 100 is going to be at least 10.5, your 400 will at least be 46, 47, so that's pretty much the goal right now. With speed comes hurdling, though hurdling is more technique; last year I did well just because I was faster than everybody but I didn't really know how to hurdle very well, but I got around with it. So this year I'm working on technique a lot and I should break some records in the hurdles this year.
ACE: Going back to your recruitment, what kind of timeline are you looking at right now?
DEVON: I understand it'll kinda slow down here in the next couple months, the maybe open back up again after track season, so maybe sometime mid-football season next year or after the football season I think I'll try to get all my visits in and wrap things up. I'd kind of a stressful, yet fun, process, so I have to enjoy it while I can but also take it in stride so I don't get stressed out and crazy over it, too.
ACE: You mentioned the recruiting process being stressful and fun. What parts of it are you enjoying and what are you looking to get over with when you make a commitment?
DEVON: The enjoyment part is really getting to know all the schools and knowing that all these schools really want you as a person and as a player to attend your school and play for them. It lets you know that the hard work is paying off in the end, which is a good feeling. I get some publicity from it, it's cool to have that; your name gets out there, which is cool, but I try not to let it get to my head. It's kinda stressful just because, you know, making calls probably for an hour each night—which I don't mind, it's cool, I get to know the people and everything, but it gets a little stressful. Coaches are really hounding on their school, which I understand because they're trying to get me to go there.
ACE: How's the piano going?
DEVON: It's going pretty well. I haven't had much time to learn anything new, but I've just been playing what I do know. Once I get settled back in to school, because we've only been in school for about a month [this semester], and the track season starts going again I'll probably pick it back up and learn some new songs, get back to playing it consistently.
ACE: Between track and talking to coaches every night, what does a typical day look like for you?
DEVON: To go off today, today I woke up—I didn't go to the gym with my father this morning because I had a track meet today, but usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I get up at five to go the gym with my dad. Get out [of the gym], take a shower, get back and go to school. Maybe break for lunch, I've got time to give a coach a call, they ask me to call, and today an analyst from Arkansas wanted to talk to me. Then I go to track practice until about six, I get home, take a shower, eat—that's about seven o'clock. Then I get on to Facebook, check my messages—I usually have about six or seven—and coaches ask me to call them, so I call them, talk to them, build a relationship until about 8:30, nine, then I get started on my homework and go to bed at probably about 11. Then I start it all over again the next day.
ACE: Man, I kinda feel guilty now. Do you ever rest?
DEVON: (laughs) Yeah, I usually try to take a break on the weekends. I've got the weekend to relax.
I mean, all-county is great and all, but we're spoiled enough to expect that anyone we recruit is probably going to be one of the most highly sought-after players in their own county. I'll admit that's still better than "one of the most highly sought-after receivers in his household" though.
Its good to see that Rich Rod is still avoiding in-state talent
Wow, that schedule sounds awful. I know the process can be, and probably is, a ton of fun for these kids, but after a while I think it would take a toll.
I would definitely feel the pressure to commit to a school as fast as possible and tell everyone else to get off my back so I can breathe.
That photo makes him look Martavious-sized. But he's actually listed at 6 even.
Sounds like a good kid. I'd love to have his speed in Maize and Blue.
Not a bad offer list huh?
I wouldn't mind having those choices- but I get how stressful the whole process could be.
Kid will definitely find himself in a good spot! (Hopefully here with us!)
Seems like he has a good head on his shoulders and speed to burn. Didn't seem to have a strong affinity to UM and every school is after him. Won't get my hopes up.
"the Michigan offer sort of came out of the blue."
What you did there. I see it.
I can't tell whether Devon was more talkative in his answers, or if they all answer this much and this time you put more in, but I liked the extra content quite a bit. Specifically, the fact that many school's coaches do the hand written letter thing. The rest of the interview write-ups make this seem like a Michigan Only type of thing. Also that he talked about playing piano. most of the other players answer this question with just more sports. Like, "oh other than football, I also play baseball, or basketball, track etc." It seems like the exception that the high school kids realize you are asking what they like to do as a normal person, rather than a star football player getting tons of offers to go to college.
Or maybe most star football players have no life other than lifting weights and playing sports?
In any case, I really like what you were able to get in this interview.