Although he is known as an exceptional athlete, Allen Smith is also known as an incredibly intelligent individual. Having scored a 1400 on his SAT, Notre Dame and Stanford, two schools known worldwide for their academics, yet they aren't the only schools vying for his talents. "I came back from UCLA a couple of weeks ago," he said. "It was very nice. LA is one of my favorite cities, so it's always good to get out there. Also I have a good family friend who works at UCLA that I got to see, so it was a good trip."
With the pedigree that comes with an education at Stanford or Notre Dame, Allen came away surprised at what he found in Southern California. "I didn't really know what to expect going into visiting UCLA," he confessed. "I had high expectations as far as other schools are concerned. Stanford with the great academics side and Notre Dame with the extreme football prestige, but I didn't know what I was going to come away with from UCLA. I think he point that hit me the most was definitely the players. The guys I got to hang with were extraordinary."
Upon his return home, Allen was visited by Coach Willingham himself and was able to spend the better part of his day discussing his future. Irish Eyes asked Allen how it went. "It was an excellent visit," he said. "I met him at school. I got to show him off to the administration, so to speak and I let him talk to with a few of my administrators, who were very impressed with him. He got mobbed for some autographs, while he was at my school. That was a lot of fun for me to have people see me with him. I brought him into talk with my counselors who absolutely wanted to meet him, because they've only heard good things about him. My counselors just fell in love with him, because he's such a charismatic guy and you can tell he really cares about his players."
When school got out, Allen and his mother were able to escape the small hysteria at school and were able to speak frankly with the Notre Dame head coach. "I got to take him home, where me and my mom got to pick his brain for a few minutes," he said. "It was a really excellent visit. It was one of those visits where we didn't have to talk about all football; we just talked about life and the future. It was an exceptional visit."
As a testament to Coach Willingham's popularity, a special guest came by to give out a surprise. "I had one of my friends; her name is Katie Laing who already committed Notre Dame in softball," he said. "She came down, because she had a Christmas present for coach Willingham,"
With all pleasantries aside, Coach Willingham's presence still had a lot to do with Allen's future. "I think the point he was trying to hammer home was the type of recruit he was going after and how I fit that mold, he said. "He was really stressing about what he likes to call the envies of the world. It involves, number one that you're smart. Number two, you're good looking. Number three, you play football. He says that I had all three of those elements and those are the kids who he's trying to produce at Notre Dame to be the future leaders of the world. With that direction in mind, he thinks that I will do very well at Notre Dame, which I also agree with."
As the conversation went on, the idea of going to Notre Dame looked more and more attractive. "I was under the assumption that Notre Dame had signed some offensive tackles," he said. "They notified me that they only signed two. John Kadous and Chauncey Incarnato. That perked my interests a little bit, because I see a great opportunity at Notre Dame."
Having taken his official visit to Notre Dame in October of last year during a big football weekend, Allen realized that he really didn't get a chance to experience what the University and the team had to offer, so he'll be giving them a second look before, ultimately, making his decision. "I am taking an unofficial back to Notre Dame," he said. "I'll be taking it the weekend of the 24th. Notre Dame will get my last look before my decision. I decided that I needed to take an unofficial to Notre Dame, because I came back from my official to UCLA realizing that having two days with the team really makes a difference. I didn't think that I could make an accurate decision without taking a second look. Notre Dame warrants the full time allowed and, to tell you the truth, it would be a nice escape for me to get out there in South Bend, Indiana."
Comments: Irish fans can't beat getting the last word in with Allen before he makes his decisions. By all accounts, it would seem that the Irish are sitting in the pole position with Allen at the moment, but you never know with the way recruiting works. The next couple of weeks will be Allen getting to really see where he fits. ASU will get an unofficial, while Stanford gets a visit the weekend of 16th and then it is off to South Bend. Irish Eyes will be in contact after the visit to keep everyone up to date with his decision.