Visit Has Duke Battling For 4 Star RB

As one of the top backfield prospects in the country, Armando Allen certainly isn't short on programs vying for his commitment. The four star Florida running back is just four days away from announcing his decision from a list of four schools. Last weekend he took his final official visit and TDD has the latest.

"I got back from visiting Duke this weekend," says Hialeah-Miami Lakes (Fla.) High standout Armando Allen. "It's a very beautiful campus and was a great atmosphere."

Rated as the nation's No. 21 running back according to Scout.com, Allen has sorted through nearly 30 scholarship offers over the previous two years and has finally narrowed his list to a final four programs - Duke, Notre Dame, Florida, and Tennessee.

"Those four schools are the ones I am going to choose from when I make my decision on Friday. The Tennessee coaches were here tonight, Florida will be in on Tuesday, then Duke is coming on Wednesday. Notre Dame will be here on Thursday night, and then I will make my decision on Friday or Saturday."

Leading up to the visit to Durham, Allen admitted that the major draw was a chance to visit his longtime friend and current Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis. However, during the visit it became apparent that Duke was not only a viable option, but a contender for his signature on signing day.

"I really had a chance to see everything up close with Duke. Their football team is actually pretty good despite the record. They need a game breaker, and I was really feeling what they had to say about football. It would be a great challenge to go to Duke and turn around that program. It would take a really great player to do it - and I've never backed down from a challenge because I believe in my abilities."

"When you think about academics, Duke is pretty much the best there is. That kind of degree and education would set you up for life, no matter if you make the NFL or not."

According to Armando the Duke pitch differs from the other three finalists in that he is being pitched the idea of being a "program changer" for the Blue Devils, but a "mistake eraser" for the other three. Something he says he will evaluate and that will weigh on his decision making process as this week drags on.

While in Durham, Allen had a chance to watch as the Blue Devils fell 45-44 to arch rival North Carolina in Wallace Wade. Before and after he had a chance to reunite with his former high school quarterback and friend, Lewis.

"It was really good to see him. He didn't really recruit me per say. Instead he just told me he wants me to make the best decision for me. He was really cool about everything."

After a monster junior season that saw him top 1,000 yards in just nine games, Allen was looking forward to making an even bigger splash on the national scene as a senior, but an ankle injury forced him to the sideline and to miss the entire season. Since that time he's been on an extensive rehab program.

"I wouldn't say I'm 100% yet, but I am getting there. I go to rehab every day and by the summer I am going to be back and better than I was. I'll be stronger."

With his decision scheduled for the end of the week, does Allen foresee any particular program nosing its way out in front of the other three?

"I'm not going to touch that one. On Friday everyone will find out where I'm headed and all the details. The things I'm looking for in a program are set though. Academics is most important for me - I am really serious about that. When you get injured like I was you realize you are one bad break from being finished with football, and you have to have something to back you up. I am absolutely not looking to redshirt wherever I go. I want to go somewhere that I can make an immediate impact both as a running back, a slot receiver, and even a kick returner. The last thing is the level of comfort I have with the coaches and players. I don't want to go somewhere that I regret for the next four years."


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