If Darius Walker announces that he is entering the NFL draft at a press conference being held today at Notre Dame, Armando Allen (5-foot-10, 195 pounds) may see his decision to enroll early pay off more that he had anticipated.
"I heard he was talking about leaving," Allen said of the rumors circulating about the possibility that Walker will forgo his senior season at Notre Dame. "That's great news for me. That's a great opportunity for me. I just need to come in a take care of business. I need to focus on what I need to do and take care of business quietly. I'm just going to get up there and make an impact from day one."
Allen has been speaking regularly with Gary Gray and Jimmy Clausen, the other recruits that are also enrolling early. Last weekend the three players spent time together at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"We're all pretty excited about the chance to go up there and make an impact," Allen said. "It was the first time I really got to hang around [Clausen], but we've talked over the phone plenty of times, and I think he's a really bright kid. When I saw him play I said, ‘This is going to work out, this is going to work out just fine.'
"I look at it like this, he's a good quarterback, and everyone thinks he's the best, so it will take a lot of attention off me. If he dos that then I'll be able to do my thing.
"I stuck with the East practices, and I didn't get to see the West practices," Allen explained. "Greg Little, I think is going to be really good, and Duval is going to be good, so we're going to have some guys that can make plays. Once we get around each other, build a relationship with the team, and work with each other it's going to be great."
While walking around San Antonio with the other participants, Armando did attempt to recruit several of the undecided players to select Notre Dame.
"I don't think it went too well," Allen said of his recruiting efforts. "I didn't really try to push anybody on Notre Dame. I thought I could do the best by being honest. I know Notre Dame isn't going to be as easy as going to some other schools, but I guess some guys just felt that way. They had other people telling them this and that, they said that there was playing time at the other places and I think once they heard that things kind of went south on us.
Allen elected not to participate in the All-American game because he didn't want to risk injury his leg that he has been rehabbing, but he expects to be ready to go once he arrives in South Bend.
"Right now I'm in pretty good shape," Armando said. "I think I'm further ahead of where I'm supposed to be with my ankle. I'll wait until Notre Dame examines me and tells me what to do. Hopefully I'll be able to jump right into training instead of doing more rehab. We start winter conditioning on January 19."
Winter conditioning will soon turn to spring practice. Allen already has his sights set on his future jersey number.
"I'm hoping for No. 5," Allen said. "I talked to the coaches and they said it shouldn't be a problem, but I guess I'll find out once I get there. I'm hoping going in early that I'll get it."