5-star center talks Notre Dame visit

Five-star center Jarrett Allen rewarded the Notre Dame staff for its persistence with his first official visit. He talked with Irish Illustrated about the experience and what comes next in the recruiting process.

Jarrett Allen could have waited another week to take his first official visit.

Notre Dame had been talking with the five-star center from Austin, Texas, about getting to campus during the Oct. 17 weekend, which coincides with the USC football game. Instead, Allen decided to move up that timeline.

He boarded a plane late last Thursday and spent the next two days in South Bend. Mike Brey and assistant coach Anthony Solomon saw their persistence rewarded.

“He’s been working really hard,” Allen said of Solomon, the lead recruiter. “He’s contacting me almost probably three times a week, maybe more, trying to make a connection with me and trying to get me down there.”

Solomon acted as primary tour guide throughout the weekend and set Allen up with his hosts, freshman forward Elijah Burns and junior wing V.J. Beachem.

Allen got a closer look at campus shortly after arriving. He took note of the academic buildings, landmarks and basketball facilities. All of it struck a familiar tone, in a good way, to his current school, St. Stephen’s Episcopal.

“It reminded me of the campus at my school but a bigger college environment,” Allen said. “The size of the school, I know it’s not going to be the same as here at my school but it’s basically like a college at my school.”

Allen ran pickup games with the team Friday as well.

Saturday brought an Irish practice. Allen watched from the front row alongside coordinator of basketball operations Harold Swanagan, a former Notre Dame player. Brey talked some with Allen about how he would fit into the system and put it on display during practice.

“They have a lot of shooters there,” Allen said. “So they run a four-around-one. I have my back-to-the-basket game. If I ever need to kick it out to one of the shooters, they wouldn’t be able to double team because I could kick it out.”

After practice, Allen attended the football game against Navy, which served essentially as a cap to the visit. How did the Irish do? Allen will need to start making more visits to tell.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I have to look at, after this, the other schools first and get like a full list going.”

Allen is currently working with a top eight that also includes Kansas, Texas, Houston, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina and Kansas State. He has yet to schedule any other official visits, but said another could come sometime this month.

Texas recently received an unofficial visit.

Getting a first official visit completed gives Allen an idea of how to approach others.

“Just soak it all in,” Allen said. “Try to understand and definitely see how the players talk about the coaches and see how the players feel they fit at the school.”

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