Talk about easy decisions.
Jordan Allen has the easiest one you could possibly make if you are an aspiring Division 1-A football player, and you live in Louisiana.
First, he has an offer from LSU. That's the big one, the one which makes this decision seemingly as automatic as breathing. Secondly, he has former teammates and former members of the team he plays for either already playing or getting ready to play with the Tigers.
Linebacker Shomari Clemons is going into his sophomore year
Offensive lineman Will Blackwell is going into his sophomore year as well
Linebacker Barkevious Mingo, who Allen played with last year, will be donning the purple and yellow for the first time this season
That may not be pressure to go to Louisiana State, but it sure seems like a few darn good reasons.
Then there are the fans.
This is Louisiana, after all, and while we know there are professional sports in the Bayou State, can anyone deny how big the Tigers are? That's a lot of true blue fans, living all over the state, many of whom Allen hears from every single day.
"You have no idea what it's like. Walking down the street people are yelling out, wondering when you are going to commit to LSU. You get it at the school, from coaches – everyone," Allen said of the fandom which surrounds him at home in West Monroe, Louisiana. "That's what it's all about around here. If you play football and LSU wants you, that's where people expect you to go."
And don't think that Allen isn't a fan himself. While he admittedly hasn't been a college football fan so much, preferring to watch the professional league rather than those teams at the more impassioned amateur level, he knows full well about "Geaux Tigers" and what that means.
"It's LSU, and I obviously know more about them than anyone else," he said.
With all that in play a recent unofficial visit was interesting, overall very informative, but the unrelenting pressure didn't cease. Point of fact Allen said that coming out of that still an uncommitted recruit was just plain tough. "It was hard not committing while I was there. And the coaches were also talking to me, asking me if I would commit," Allen said. "But I felt I owed it to myself to not make a decision now, because I have no idea what else is out there."
What is out there right now is plenty of interest, the most coming from the other programs to offer, that being Georgia, Tennessee and Nebraska. A little of what Allen already knows about LSU, he wants to find out about most of those schools, if he can. "One thing LSU has which I really like is a great academic support program. They have a lot of support for their student-athletes when it come to getting a good education," he said. "I want to see what these other schools have in that area, and I want to see a lot of other things, too."
Some of those things are the coaches, of course, seeing how he relates to them and the players currently on the team as well. But Allen is also thinking about players he'll be playing with in the future. "I want to see what their recruiting class looks like, the kind of players I'll be playing with and just what kind of future they might have," he said. "You want to feel you are going to a problem that is either already established or definitely heading in the right direction."
For Nebraska's part, they are, the big red under first-year Head Coach Bo Pelini, a year prior to the Defensive Coordinator at LSU, turned a team around from a losing season and the 112th ranked defense in the country, to a New Year's Day bowl victory over Clemson and his defense went from one of the worst in the Big 12 to one of the best in the conference, ranking in most categories behind only Texas and Oklahoma.
While Pelini obviously had a great final year at LSU, his defense leading the way as they stopped and stomped Ohio State in the national title game, Allen said he doesn't know a lot more than that. "Honestly, the only LSU game I saw that year was that national title game. I really watched more NFL than I did college," Allen said. "So, I know they have some assistants who coached at LSU, but I don't know a lot more than that. That's why I want to get up there to take a visit."
That's where the problem lies, at least in perception. Allen said that he'll potentially take a camp in at Texas and unofficially visit Ole Miss, because they are close. Georgia is one which is an outside shot at the visit, only because distance becomes more of a factor. But for Nebraska, Jordan said that they are definitely an officially visit, because if he wants to see them, that's really the only way.
So, he'll have to wait.
Which means that between now and whenever his visits are done to his satisisfaction, no commit, no official status as a future Tiger – nothing. Just the constant roar of the pressure cooker that is life in Louisiana as a potential, maybe even probable LSU Tiger, has to be put on hold. Allen insists, though, that these visits he'll take aren't a formality, because why he's going to visit these places are why he didn't commit to LSU on the spot.
"I don't want to sell myself short. I have worked awfully hard to get to where I am right now, and I think I owe it to myself to work just as hard and take the time I need to make the right decision," Allen said. "I know the pressure around here is going to continue. I know everyone is going to be screaming at me to be a Tiger.
"But they don't have to go to school for me, play for me or any of that. So, I'll take some visits, compare places and find out which place fits me. That might be LSU, but it might not. But I am not going to wonder what these others could have had, just because I wanted to avoid the pressure and decide. I have to be smarter than that."