Marcus Allen Developing Into Quality LB

Florida has treated Illinois well when it comes to recruiting. The Illini coaches are hoping to strike again in the Sunshine State with a defender who possesses the size to battle in the Big Ten Conference.

Marcus Allen was a significant member of his Hilliard, Florida, high school team this past season. Not only did he play numerous roles, but he was one of few members left on the team at the end of the season.

"Last year we didn't have a really successful season. I think we were like 2-6. We're a young team and had a lot of first year players. We only had like 13 players on the team at the end of the year. We had about 60 guys come out for the team this year."

With so few players, Allen rarely came off of the field. He played multiple positions but knows what suits him best.

"I play running back and linebacker. Sometimes I'm a receiver or a wildcat quarterback too. I'd say I'm best at running back and linebacker."

On offense, Allen uses his size to his advantage. At 6'-2" and 210 pounds, he's hard to bring down and runs with power.

"I'm hard to tackle, and I'm really athletic. Usually it takes more than one person to tackle me."

On defense, Allen knows what it takes to be a stopper and a leader in the middle.

"I have good instincts and good reaction. I know you need that to be a successful linebacker."

Still, Allen is young to the game of football. With only one year under his belt, he has already made great strides and learned quite a bit.

"I just want to work on tackling. I need to improve my mechanics and fundamentals. That, and I want to understand the game better since last year was my first year playing."

Allen progressed quite a bit during his first year. This season, he hopes to be a role model for his teammates.

"I just want them to see how hard I work and take my example and follow it. I lead by example as the captain."

Despite his team's hardship this past year, Allen stood out enough to gain the attention of many college coaches. He talked about what matters to him when looking at colleges.

"I'm looking for academics and a good combination of that and athletics. I also want a good set of role models and a good community atmosphere. Good fans and a place that will help prepare me for life after football and make me a good person for the future."

Academics will certainly be a big factor; Allen is a bright individual. Growing up, he aspired for a very lofty career.

"I'm still undecided on my major. When I was growing up I wanted to be a surgeon, but I'm not sure how I'd handle all the blood and stuff like that. So I still need to figure it out."

Allen has seen interest increase quite a bit lately, especially now that summer is in full swing.

"Probably Duke, Tennessee, Kentucky. There's a few. A lot of them have been calling lately."

Though many of those schools are in the southeast, Allen won't let geography limit his choice.

"Distance isn't really a factor. My mom's fine with me going anywhere."

Illinois is farther from home. Allen has already formed a good relationship with one Illinois coach, and he hopes to form one with another soon.

"I looked at the website and saw the facilities and the school and everything. I've talked to Coach (Paul) Petrino a few times, but I haven't gotten a chance to talk to Coach Vic (Koenning) yet."

A visit may have to wait for Illinois though. The distance makes it hard for many Florida prospects to see Illinois unofficially.

"If I do visit, it will be an official visit since I won't be able to make it up this summer. I'm not real sure where I'm taking all my officials yet."

If Allen is able to visit Illinois, he already holds some great expectations for the experience.

"I like Coach Petrino. Illinois is a good place to be. If the other coaches are like him, then there are some pretty good coaches there. I can tell they're really interested in me as a player and a person."

Allen recently took a long road trip and saw numerous schools this summer.

"I took a trip two weeks ago and saw about seven different schools: GT, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Kentucky, Duke, and Tennessee. I think Miami has been talking about offering too. They just want to see me in camp first."

Allen has plans to take his official visits, but has no set plans for a decision at this point.

"I think I'll decide when I feel right about it. I'm not entirely sure when that will be yet."

With a set of visits out of the way, Allen is now shifting his focus to preparation for his fast-approaching season.

"Next season, I'm really looking forward to seeing how much we improve and how much we can accomplish. Maybe we can get to the playoffs and even contend for a state championship."

Hopefully Allen will get the opportunity to add Illinois to his list of visits this fall.

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