It always seems there is at least one young quarterback poised to make a name for himself at the Shootout of the South 7-on-7 passing tournament in Little Rock.
Current Razorback Nathan Dick, current Texas Tech quarterback Stefan Loucks and Warren's Hayden Sherman are just a few that come to mind.
This year that guy may very well be Fayetteville sophomore-to-be Brandon Allen, the son of University of Arkansas assistant coach Bobby Allen and someone who will be watched closely in the 20-team, two-day event getting underway Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the Mighty Bluebird Soccer Fields.
"He is a great athlete who has a great arm and great speed and is very smart," Fayetteville head coach Daryl Patton. "He also is very calm, cool and collected and never gets rattled. Now, he is just a sophomore and like all sophomores he is still learning and going to make some mistakes beecause of lack of experience. But he is going to have a great three years here and will be, if the not the best, at least one of the top two quarterbacks in the state."
Allen, who was a phenomenal player last season for Woodland Junior High, will lead the Purple Bulldogs as the look to win back-to-back Class 7A state championships.
"The high school game is obviously a lot faster than at Woodland," Allen said. "I am doing my best to catch up with the speed of the game. We've got a lot of talented receivers and offensive lineman that do a great job blocking and that makes things a lot easier.
Allen, who is just getting over the effects of having viral meningitis, knows that he will be under the microscope because he is the son of a Razorback coach.
"There is some pressure, but I try not to think about that much and just go out there and throw the ball," Allen said. "I just try to take care of things on the football field and not worry about all that stuff."
Allen joins fellow sophomore-to-be Kiehl Frazier (6-2, 191, 4.4), who is currently at West Fork but attempting to transfer to Shiloh Christian, as two sophomores that are considered to be Division I prospects.
"I have working on my arm strength and accuracy," Allen said. "I am just trying to get better every day."
Fayetteville joins the PulaskI Academy, Central Arkansas Christian, Warren, Springdale, Fountain Lake, Green County Tech, Arkansas Baptist, Lake Hamilton, Hot Springs Lakeside, Magnolia, Little Rock Parkview, Rogers, Russellville, and Shiloh Christian as in-state kids playing in the event.
There are a couple of Texas team with Allen and Carrollton American Heritage returning while Oklahoma squads Miami and Heritage Hall will be on hand and Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist as well.
"This used to be an even that just helped the offenses, but now so many teams in our state are passing the ball a lot that it is really good for the defenses as well," Kelly said. "It used to be we would have to go out and look for teams and now they are calling us in January and Feburary
The teams participate in pool play on Friday before moving into championship play on Saturday.
The Razorbacks are known to be looking at wideouts Neal Barlow of Pulaski Academy, Quinn Franklin of Warren and Uzoma Nwachukwa of Allen.
Some of the big names that have played in the Shootout are Dick, Loucks, Razorback running back Chip Gregory, UA signees Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, Basmine Jones and Chris Gragg, future Louisiana Tech player Cruz Williams,
USC running back Broderick Green and Texas wideout signee Dan Bucker.
"There'll be another list of great players that you'll look up and say where did that guy come from?'" Kelly said. "There's a ton of great athletes who will be on hand."
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