Florida WR/DB headed to Army

The Army coaching staff found a real gem in Mark Allen of Harmony high school in Florida. Mark is a standout wide receiver/defensive back who will be attending the United States Military Academy Prep School this fall. ArmySports.com talked with Mark about his play on the field and his thoughts on playing for Army.

ArmySports.com: When did you visit Army and how did your visit go?
Mark Allen: I visited on September 23. It was an unofficial visit back when they played Iowa State. It was good. I got to tour the campus all Friday before the game. I got to sit in two classes, first class swimming and a math class. It was awesome, a huge castle; that's what it looks like. I got to stay and watch them play Iowa State and they lost by 7. It was good; the facilities are awesome.

ArmySports.com: You said you attended the a swimming class?
Mark Allen: Yes, first class survival swimming. It was crazy; they had a wave pool that they simulated a storm. The strobes lights went on, sprinklers overhead start spraying down water. They had their BDUs (Battle Dress Uniforms) on and they had to jump in the water and swim to different points while all this was going on. It was pretty neat.

ArmySports.com: Sounds exciting! What do you feel are your strengths as a player?
Mark Allen: I played receiver this year, receiver and DB my junior year, but just receiver this year. I'm a real fundamental player. My routes are awesome and my blocking ability is awesome. I think those are my biggest strengths. I know the game, I find myself open a lot; I'm good at reading coverages.

ArmySports.com: How did the Army coaches say you'd be utilized?
Mark Allen: I'm going to prep school first, I'm going to try both positions. They said they call in players from time to time and if Coach Ross thinks you can get more playing time at defensive back, he'll let you know and he'll offer you the spot. They said I'll come in as a wide receiver, that's what I was recruited as. He said I'd play special teams early; Coach Ross likes to use young players on special teams.

ArmySports.com: What other schools were recruiting you?
Mark Allen: I was offered to walk on spot at Mississippi State. I had USF, UCF recruiting me. I had offers from Iona College and Wagner; they are from New York and division I-AA.

ArmySports.com: Is there any reason all these New York teams were recruiting you? I mean Army was recruiting you and they are New York?
Mark Allen: I don't know. I think it just happened that way. I think I had a college from each division, including junior college recruiting me from New York.

ArmySports.com: Hmmm. So it was just a coincidence. Interesting. So are you excited about some day playing in the Army-Navy game?
Mark Allen: Oh yeah! I can't even wait until next year just to play in the Prep School Army-Navy game. I'm training like crazy. They sent me down information on strength, conditioning and nutrition and all that kind of stuff. They sent me like a huge 200 page book, like most schools do. So I've been doing drills, catching 100 balls a day and running routes. I have a trainer up in Orlando that I've been working with. I've already gained 10 pounds in about 3 weeks. So I'm working hard and getting strong and getting bigger and faster.

ArmySports.com: What is your height and weight right now?
Mark Allen: I'm 6-1, 180.

ArmySports.com: And what is your 40 speed?
Mark Allen: 4.6

ArmySports.com: Did you get any like All-District or All-Region honors?
Mark Allen: We were a first year school, an independent. We just played random teams. We weren't even in a district.

ArmySports.com: So, how did you guys come out? Just curious.
Mark Allen: We went 6-4 this year actually playing some pretty tough teams. We actually did well. We came together in the summer and all throughout school the year before because we knew we were all going [to be at Harmony together]. We got a new coach and worked out and got stronger and faster and came in and did well. 6-4, we did pretty well for a first year school.

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