Derrik Allen had an action-packed weekend.
After competing in the Rivals Five-Star Challenge on Friday and Saturday, the four-star Irish commitment from Marietta, Ga., made his way to South Bend to spend a few days at his future program. Commitments Matt Bauer, Jayson Ademilola, Justin Ademilola, Markese Stepp and Phil Jurkovec joined him.
For the 6-foot-2, 210-pound athlete from Lassiter High School, the visit was his first back to Notre Dame since his commitment almost four months ago.
“When I first showed up, I went on a stadium tour,” Allen said. “I came back and met up with the commits. Then I went and talked to coach (Mike) Elko and coach (Brian) Kelly and I went through coverages with coach Elko. Then I broke back out with the commits and went to the lake.
“The next day, I went to the OTA’s in the morning. Then I went over more plays with coach Elko and then I went and talked to the weight room manager.”
Allen plays several roles for Lassiter. But at Notre Dame, the four-star talent will only have to focus on one.
“The position I’ve been playing is called ‘whip’ and that’s the free safety,” Allen said. “With coach Elko, we sat down and I was taught all the coverages already, how to run them, all the calls for them. They’re planning on having me potentially get (playing time) early.”
Allen also spent time with top rover target Shayne Simon, who teams with the Ademilola twins at St. Peter’s Prep. Allen and Simon discovered they had more than football in common.
“I spoke with Shayne for basically the whole day,” Allen said. “It turns out that his dad was at West Point when my dad was at West Point and we used to run track against each other when we were younger. We got to talking a lot and communicating. So, we’ll see where he ends up.”
Another top recruit from the South, tight end George Takacs, also made the trip to South Bend after attending the Rivals camp in Indianapolis.
“(Takacs), we spoke a lot,” Allen said. “He seemed like he was enjoying his visit. He was hanging with me and Shayne and all the commits. Him and Phil watched the Stanley Cup Final.”
Allen’s impact on Notre Dame’s recruiting impact also extended to prospects not on campus.
Three-star cornerback Donte Burton told Irish Illustrated this week that Notre Dame leads. The Georgia athlete and Notre Dame’s only defensive back commitment know each other.
“I know Donte,” Allen said. “He’s definitely a good player. He’s playing corner now. I’ve seen him playing in a couple all-star games.”
Allen recalled what factors decided his commitment to Notre Dame, especially so early in his recruitment.
“It was simply just how I felt,” Allen said. “How comfortable I felt about the players that were going up there. Definitely the academics and definitely Mike Elko bringing that new defense and how I fit into it. It’s actually the same defense that we run at my high school.”
After returning to Georgia, things won’t slow down much for Allen, who has big events on the horizon.
“I’m actually going down to IMG this weekend for the National 7-on-7 tournament and a few weeks later, I have The Opening.”
Landing a commitment from a defensive back from the South of Allen’s calibre wasn’t only surprising, it was also very important for a program that needs answers for a lack of quality and depth in the back end of their defense.
Allen will arrive in South Bend with a strong understanding of Elko’s scheme as well as the size and physical tools to compete for snaps as a true freshman. Based on last weekend, the four-star might play a big part in adding to Notre Dame’s recruiting class too.