2014 Allen Grew Up Watching Illini

Hinsdale Central's Brian Allen visited Illinois this past weekend, a school he's always watched. Find out what he had to say about Illinois as well as the other schools after him.

With Graham Pocic graduating this year, Illinois will be looking to replace a four-year starter at center, and while Hinsdale Central lineman Brian Allen is only a junior, he's the type of player who would thrive under former Illinois center and Offensive Line Coach Luke Butkus.

Hinsdale Central has been one of the top programs in Illinois this year, and Allen, the only junior on the offensive line, has more than done his part stepping up for his team.

"It's going pretty well," he said. "This is my first year starting on the offensive line. I didn't know what to expect in the first game, but after the first game I picked up where I left off. The team is doing well. We lost Ian last game for a couple weeks, but some other guys have a chance to step up and be a leader on offense. Everyone's a returning starter on the line other than me. Our center graduated last year. Every single one of us is a leader. We all know what we're supposed to be doing and we pick each other up. My guys can trust me if they don't know the call too."

In just a short amount of time, Allen says he is "getting a much better understanding of the offense and knowing all the plays."

Much of his success is a result of a lot of hard work in the offseason. Allen trains year-round with a lot of other top prospects in the suburban Chicago area.

"I worked a lot on technique in the offseason," Allen said. "I worked a lot with one of my coaches at Core 6, Mike Jones. He's on staff at Hinsdale Central. He's the defensive line coach there. It's awesome having a guy that knowledgeable at my high school telling me what to do. Everything we've drilled is working. I feel pretty dominant, and I haven't felt very threatened yet this year. It's good as of now. I like how I'm playing."

They don't just train together, but they also experience a lot of the recruiting process together, too.

"I go on a lot of visits with the guys from Core 6," he said. "Nile Sykes is a guy I go a lot of places with. Jamarco Jones too. We talk a lot and we all have each other's numbers."

Allen has collected five offers already, all from the Big Ten. He has family or friend ties to most of the schools recruiting him.

"I have five offers and they all stick out," he said.

Illinois:

Illinois is the in-state school. I've been watching them forever and a bunch of guys from Hinsdale Central have gone there. I remember watching Doug Pilcher when he played at Illinois. It's cool seeing a guy from your eventual high school playing on TV in college. I've always watched them because of that.

Michigan State:

My brother plays at Michigan State, and my brother and I are pretty close, so I get to see him play too.

Wisconsin:

My grandpa and great uncle actually played there and my grandma went there. I heard stories growing up about when they were there.

Iowa:

Iowa has a tradition of offensive linemen under Coach Ferentz in the NFL. It's a cool thing.

Purdue:

My dad went to Purdue too, so I kind of have a connection everywhere.

Allen visited Illinois on Saturday, and the night game environment was something he really enjoyed.

"I thought it was pretty cool," he said. "I liked the environment being on a Big Ten field surrounded by that many people. Wherever I go that's a big deal. Got a chance to talk to the coaches and see some other friends and recruits that were there."

A duo of Illinois coaches is recruiting Allen, and it's only fitting that one of them is former Illinois center Luke Butkus.

"Coach Butkus and Coach Ward are my main recruiters there," said Allen. "We've talked about Coach Butkus playing center and all that before. Coach Butkus has coached in the NFL and obviously knows what's going on and he's a good guy to be around."

Aside from Illinois, Allen took a visit to Michigan State a week prior. He has a couple other visits lined up moving forward as well.

"My only other visit I have taken was for the Michigan State game against Notre Dame," he said. "I went with Ian Bunting and Nile Sykes. I'm going to Iowa on October 20th when they play Penn State. Also we're going to Ohio State on October 6th."

But Allen's main focus right now is on finishing his season strong. After a loss to the state's number two team in Glenbard West, he hopes Hinsdale Central can move forward and finish the rest of the season undefeated.

"Our goal going into week 4 was to beat Glenbard West," he said. "We came up a little short in the fourth quarter, but we hung in with one of the best teams in the state. That gives us the mindset that we can be in the state finals and compete for a title. We just have to finish the regular season strong. We want to go at least 8-1 and get a good seed going into the playoffs."


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