Another Peyton is waitin'

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He's lanky and he's deadly accurate. He's named Peyton and he's got a link to the University of Tennessee football program.

Peyton Manning? Nope. Peyton Allen.

At 6-feet-5 and 184 pounds, Allen is essentially the same size Manning was when the former Vol quarterback enrolled at UT as afreshman in 1994. Allen also is similarly accurate, although he's known for swishing 3-pointers rather than for completing fade routes. And his link to the Vol football program isn't direct but through good friend Daniel Helm, a 2014 signee who was a basketball teammate of Allen's last season at Glenwood High in Chatham, Ill.

And, like Peyton Manning, Peyton Allen might attend college in Knoxville. Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin recently extended a scholarship offer. Allen, who already visited St. Joesph's and Texas A&M, planned to visit the UT campus last week but was snowed out. He has rescheduled for this weekend. He plans to visit Butler Feb. 12-13 and Vanderbilt Feb. 15-16.

There's a new player entering the Peyton Allen sweepstakes, however. The North Carolina Tar Heels will be checking him out Feb. 14, when Glenwood visits Springfield High.

"All of these teams have offered except North Carolina," Glenwood head coach Todd Blakeman told InsideTennessee. "They haven't seen him play yet but they're coming to see him the 14th."

The obvious question: If Allen is good enough to interest the Tar Heels, why didn't someone corral him during the November Signing Period? Answer: There were concerns about his health. He missed much of his junior season due to mononucleosis.

"He got mono around last Christmas, and was out all of January and half of February," Blakeman said. "He came back for the last few regular-season games and helped us make the Elite Eight."

Allen gained considerable weight and lost considerable strength during the illness. As a result, he was off his game a bit through the high school playoffs and the AAU season.

"That really affected his recruiting," Blakeman said. "A lot of schools backed away."

Allen stopped flying under the radar, however, when he opened his senior season with a bang.

"He got in the Tournament of Champions against very good competition from several states and played very well," Blakeman said. "He showed he's stronger and his hops are better. He's an elite athlete. Texas A&M offered around Christmas time. Since then I've seen a lot of high majors get on board."

Once Allen's health returned, so did his skill level. After averaging 18.1 points per game as a junior, he's leading the Central State Eight Conference at 27 points per game as a senior. Rated a three-star prospect by Scout, he's more than a scorer, however.

"He's just a very skilled player," Blakeman said. "He can shoot off the bounce. He can catch and shoot. He's a very active, in-control guard."

He's also a productive forward … and a productive center on occasion.

"We run him inside/outside," Blakeman said. "We run him at point guard, run him at post. He's the best player on the floor most nights, and he can play every position. We try to develop our kids to be basketball players, not just one specific position. He's very versatile."

Still, most schools – including North Carolina – are mainly interested in Allen's long-range shooting. He's developing into quite a threat from 3-point range.

"He shoots with ease," Blakeman said. "As he gets stronger he's going to be a fantastic shooter."

In addition to being a quality athlete, Allen appears to be a quality person and competitor.

"He comes from a very good family," Blakeman said. "He loves his teammates, loves his coaches, and he's very driven to succeed. He loves to win. He's made of the right stuff. He deserves what he gets, deserves to play at that (high-major) level.

"He's a great kid and awesome basketball player."


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