Allen Tries To Find Comfort

Narrowing his double-digit scholarship list down to four Big Ten schools was the easy part for Hunsdale Central lineman Jack Allen. The hard part now is getting the list of Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin down to one, a process that has caused Allen to get very little sleep at times.

MADISON - With the anguish in his voice, talking about the pros and cons of the recruiting process, Hinsdale Central (Ill.) center Jack Allen is not shy about telling people he wants to be done with the recruiting process.

Telling people what school is going to come out on top … now, that's a different story.

"The other night, I stayed up an extra 90 minutes lying in my bed just thinking about it," Allen admitted to Badger Nation. "You think about everything really, especially what would happen if you pick one place over another place."

It would be so much easier for Allen (6-foot-2, 262 pounds), a three-star prospects and rated the 15th-best center in the country by, to make a decision if his heart was intertwined with the Big Ten Conference. It would have been a lot easier had Wisconsin not jumped in with a scholarship offer.

Visiting Madison during UW's summer camp, Allen was looking to build on his first trip to the school - an unofficial visit during the Michigan game last season. When an offer was extended by Head Coach Bret Bielema, Allen was taken aback, especially by the attitude displayed by the staff.

"All the coaches are really nice and down-to-earth guys that I could see myself playing for," Allen said. "The coaches said that whichever way I want to play, I can play. If I start off on defense and I don't like it, they are going to move me to offense."

Playing the majority of the time as center on offense with some defensive end work mixed in for Hinsdale, Allen admitted he was surprised by the flexibility of the offer, especially since he hardly plays defensive tackle.

But when his recruiting coach – secondary coach Chris Ash – giving him the vote of confidence, Allen has become high on Wisconsin, even though the Badgers are the only school that has given him the offense-defense option.

"Coach Ash is a great guy," said Allen, who has no preference for what side of the ball he plays in college. "He's real nice. I have probably talk to him about a dozen times. He's visited me at my school and we still talk all the time."

Allen certainly has the right build and bloodlines to do it. His father, John, was a wrestler at Purdue, his uncle was a former wrestler at Wisconsin and his grandfather was on a Rose Bowl team with Wisconsin.

It's no surprise then that from Allen's scholarship list of from Ball State, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Toledo, Wisconsin and Wyoming, his top four choices are Big Ten schools - the Badgers, Hawkeyes, Hoosiers and Spartans.

"I want to play in the Big Ten because I am familiar with it having grown up around it," said Allen, who in addition to wrestling says he can bench 320 pounds and squat 450. "I like Big Ten football. I've heard some funny stories for my dad … but I don't think they appropriate enough to share."

Each one of his choices brings some different and unique to the table that makes them stand out. For Wisconsin, it was definitely the gameday experience.

"It was incredible," Allen said. "They are people everywhere. The student section is crazy. It was environment to be in."

By the beginning of August, Allen hopes to have narrowed down his choice and return to some semblance of normalcy. To do that, Allen hopes to bring his parents to a few more schools and make a couple more visits.

Until that time, the restless nights are expected to continue.

"My relationship with all the coaches is great, which is going to make it that much harder to decide. I am so confused right now. Everyday, my decision changes. I would like to get it over with and not think about it. It might come down to a flip of a quarter. I am kidding, it won't, but it's going to be hard."

Scout Football Top Stories