Feeling Out Process

Four-star offensive lineman Willie Allen isn’t committed to any school, and he won’t be committing anytime soon. Just so we’re clear.

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Actually, Allen, a four-star offensive lineman by way of River Ridge, La., is taking his time with the recruiting process and weighing his many options, including making the camp rounds this summer.

Allen visited Alabama Sunday through Wednesday. On Friday, the 6-foot-7, 300-pound tackle was in Oxford, Miss., for Ole Miss elite camp.

“I’m just hanging out with the guys, getting to know everybody a little bit better. Just really enjoying my visit,” Allen said. “It’s going pretty good. I like the community, and I like the people that’s here. It feels like family; nothing different from my school. I know what the town’s about. Really nice people. It’s just like at home.”

Allen was but one of many top Ole Miss targets and commitments in town for the day. Five-star quarterback and Rebel pledge Shea Patterson stopped in as well, as did Scout.com national 100 members Shyheim Carter and Nigel Knott.

Allen and Patterson, who is also from Louisiana, have developed a friendship after meeting at an LSU football game as high school sophomores.

“We’ve been friends ever since,” Allen said. “He isn’t trying to force me to come to Ole Miss. I like Ole Miss. I like all the other schools that are recruiting me. I’m not committed anywhere yet. I don’t want the media to twist my words just like they did a few months ago. Someone called my parents and said that I tweeted ‘Let’s make it official!’ with a red heart. Someone thought I was committed to Alabama, but I wasn’t. It was just a tweet. I just don’t like it when the media twists my words.”

Social media has become an important tool in recruiting for coaches and prospects alike. Twitter, for example, is being used more and more by recruits to control their own message and even break their commitment.

Allen, however, has had enough.

“I went on a fast for religious reasons and I got off (social media) for 21 days,” he said. “I’ve grown mentally and spiritually. I don’t care about social media at all.”

So Allen, the No. 37 prospect in the country according to Scout.com, is going about his recruitment the old fashioned way — simply visiting the schools he’s most interested in and keeping updates to a minimum.

And Ole Miss is right in the thick of things.

“(Ole Miss head) Coach (Hugh) Freeze is a good guy. I’ve got nothing bad to say about coach Freeze. He’s doing a really good job. Ole Miss is family-based. It’s family, faith and football, which I like. And they take care of their players, no matter if you’re on the football field or you’re injured. They take care of their players.”

Allen has no timetable for a decision, though it’s safe to say he’ll likely wait until after his senior season at John Curtis Christian. He’ll take some more trips and continue to evaluate, keeping tabs on how each school’s players “carry themselves, life after football and whether I feel like home.”

He’ll next make a return visit to Alabama before seeing Auburn for the first time.

“Alabama is strictly business. I have nothing bad to say about (Alabama head) coach (Nick) Saban and (offensive line) coach (Mario) Cristobal. They’re really good guys. They enjoy coaching and they coach you hard,” he said. “What I’ve learned about the (LSU) Tigers is if you’re from Louisiana, they want you really bad.

“I’m just going (to Auburn) to visit. It’s my first trip there. Coach (Jeff) Grimes is a good guy. He’s been around for a long time, and he’s really cool. He’s laid back and excited to teach his players the game.”

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