(See Armando Allen profile)
Allen is not just a dedicated athlete. He's also quite focused on his academics with a plan to graduate high school in December and enroll early in the college of his choice in January. He is very goal oriented and this plan is what he sees as the next step in his maturation as both a student and athlete.
"We have three more days of school," he said, happy that his junior year is almost over. "I can't wait to get to my summer workout program. We are basically trying to get bigger, stronger and faster. I am trying to come in this year about 205 and am about 195 right now.
He capped off a great spring in track with the state championship in the 100 meter hurdles, finishing with the fourth fastest time in the nation. On the academic side, he also posted championship numbers.
"It was a good semester," he said. "I am talking my final exams. So far I have aced all my exams and wanting to finish the rest that way.
He has been running hurdles for quite some time. It all started when a track coach some years ago just told him he was going to be the hurdler for his youth track team. The rest, as they say, is history.
"I actually started (running the hurdles) when I was eight years old," he said. "The coach just told me I was going to do it. I never thought I could, but I ran a race and won it so I just kept going. They were shorter then and now they are a little higher than I expected, me being about 5-10."
Running the hurdles makes him a better football player. In the end his year-around training has earned him scholarship offers all over America and made him one of the elite track and gridiron athletes in the land.
"Actually I think it does help me in football," he said. "I know a lot of fast football players run hurdles in high school and it helps me with my flexibility. Alex Armenteros is my trainer. I train with him for the hurdles and football."
There is really no time off for this workhorse. He is always heading to his next goal on the table. The next goal as mentioned above is the summer workouts. They are right around the corner and he is happy about that.
"Out workout program starts on June 5th," he said. "I take a day and a half off and I think I am losing it. I like to keep going."
When asked for a list of schools he is interested in, Allen has not quite reached the ten schools that will make his first list. The process for him however will come sooner rather than later, namely because he I an early enrollee candidate. That means he will have to start visiting schools over the summer. Some kind of list has to be forthcoming
"I really have no choice, but I just haven't made up my mind what schools I am going to visit," he said. "I am going to the office with my coach (Jerry Hughes) by Friday and we are going to sit down and knock the number of schools down. I should have a top ten."
With that in mind, we wanted to see if we could get a group of schools that are most likely to make his first list of ten. He thought for a minute and indulged us.
The Gators are certainly hunting for that big time back with speed, power, and elusiveness. Allen will likely pay a visit to Gainesville this summer.
"I haven't visited Florida yet," he said. "I was supposed to go up there next month to one of their camps. Hopefully I can get up there."
The Gators have been as much of a shadow as the NCAA will allow with Allen. They have known about him for quite some time and have always made a favorable impression with him. Coach Urban Meyer, area recruiting coach Doc Holliday and running backs coach Stan Drayton have influenced him a great deal in his still young recruiting life.
"Florida, to be honest, they have been talking to me since day one," Allen said. "They have been real. That is what I am looking for, a college that will be real and honest with no flaws. The coaches there have done that. The coaches have been like that and I respect them for that."
Having have heard the "be real" term from recruits before with this staff, Gator Country asked him to elaborate.
"It's just a certain feeling you get when you around a person," he said. "You can tell a phony person when you see one. Every time I have been around someone from Florida, they have been real."
For most in the recruiting process it is still early. For those enrolling early in college, time is of the essence. Tons of factors will weigh in n a young man's decision to go to school although they might not know what those factors are early in the process.
Relationships are a big part of growing up and the Miami community. Although large, Miami has its share of unique relationships that can bond kids that might live all the way on the other side of town, which could be millions of people apart. Allen grew up playing Pop Warner football with some of Miami's elite football seniors to be.
Kamar Aiken, Travaris Cadet, and DeMarcus Van Dyke were all teammates with Allen on his youth Pop Warner team. They call each other cousins, although according to Allen there is no blood relation. All four are at different high schools now in Miami but still stay close. "Cousin" Van Dyke is leaning towards the Gators now.
It would be a real coup for the Gators if there is a family reunion of these "cousins" in Gainesville in 2007.