Year in and year out, Orchard Lake St. Mary's preparatory school fields some of the best athletes in the state of Michigan. College programs from across the Midwest do their best to tap into its rich talent base, but none have been more successful that the University of Michigan. Players like David Bowens, Diallo Johnson, and Jermaine Gonzales have all made the transition from Eaglets to Wolverines. On Michigan's current roster, there are three more St. Mary's alums. Senior Grant Mason, redshirt freshman Morgan Trent, and freshman-to-be Chris McLaurin all now wear the winged helmet. The latest star in the St. Mary's pipeline looks to be 2007 DB/WR Dionte Allen.
The 6-0 170-pounder showed up on the radar following his freshman season after an impressive showing at Michigan's summer camp. He followed that up with a strong sophomore campaign in which he helped McLaurin lead the Eaglets to the state title game (where they lost to Terrance Taylor and the Muskegon Big Reds). When the football season was over, Allen took his talents to the basketball court and paired with teammate and best friend Kalin Lucas to form one of the fastest backcourts in the state. Still, football is the sport where he makes the most hay, and he did so again when he returned to Ann Arbor for camp last month.
"It was fun," Allen said regarding the experience. "I was only up there for one day, but I was already really familiar with Coach English. He said I looked better and that I had gotten faster and taller. They didn't have me do all the testing drills. I just did the one on ones. There was much love up there"
Allen was one of an elite group on junior defensive backs, along with Muskegon's Ronald Johnson and Cincinnati Colerain's Eugene Clifford, to have performed extremely well at the camp. Though they were all competing, Allen and Johnson became fast friends. "That's my man right there," Allen said of Johnson. "We had some words for each other out there." Allen got a chance to chat with some old friends as well.
Mason, Trent, and McClaurin all came out to see their friend do his thing, but the speedy youngster indicated that none of them spent their time trying to sell the Wolverines. "All of them were up there," Allen said regarding the St. Mary's alums. "Chris got real big. Right now he is deciding if he is going to redshirt or if he will try to play special times. They just talked to me regularly. They weren't really pushing Michigan. It's not like that was going to be the only time I see them. Morgan and Grant work out with me."
Before leaving campus, Allen also met with Michigan coach Lloyd Carr. As was the case with his players, the veteran headman did little to pressure the talented recruit. "Me and my dad talked to Coach Carr," Allen said. "He was explaining to us that this was a big decision and that I shouldn't rush. Some guys don't know if they want to come and some guys decide not to come. He just said to take my time and to make the best decision for me."
After leaving Ann Arbor, Allen's summer camping travels were not over. He later made his way to East Lansing and experienced a great deal of success while in the land of Green and White. "I went to Michigan State's camp and it was the same old - same old," he said. "There were about six of us that went up there and we basically dominated."
Programs are lining up to show Allen more and more attention, but as has been the case throughout his early recruitment, one school sticks out above the rest. "Michigan is definitely still on top, " Allen said. "They have offered me a scholarship. Michigan State has too, but that's all I know right now. Another school I'm interested in is Florida State. I plan to visit them next year."
With the time to make his decision still a ways off, most of Allen's focus is on working hard in preparation for next season. That said, he has already determined what the most significant factor in his choice is going to be. "It will basically be academics but I may get to a point where I'm not playing football anymore," he said. "I want to have something good to fall back on."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Allen throughout the year.