- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
It’s been nearly four months since Ashburn, Va., defensive end Jonathan Allen committed to the University of Alabama. Even though the open contact period began on Saturday, Allen’s phone has remained quiet.
“After I committed, I wanted to let other schools know that I was a hard commit, so no schools have contacted me since committing to Alabama,” Allen said.
“It’s been great. It’s given me a chance to really focus and concentrate on my football season and school. I was really glad to get it over with, commit to a school and be set on that.”
The extra attention has paid off. Allen had nine tackles, three batted balls and a blocked punt to help Stone Bridge High School defeat rival Robinson, 31-14, in the season opener. This week, they face Chantilly, one of their toughest opponents all season.
The 6-foot-3 Allen has bulked up to 245 pounds for the start of the season and has been used primarily at defensive end. Alabama still likes him as a possible rush linebacker off the edge when he gets on campus but says he may play some on the defensive line.
“They said they would like to have me at Jack linebacker on first and second down, but when third down comes around, if they go to nickel, I’ll be at the defensive end position,” he said.
The role might sound familiar. Alabama just landed a commitment from ESPN 150 defensive end DeMarcus Walker, who also projects as a Jack linebacker and might also line up some at defensive end. Allen saw the new addition but wasn’t fazed by it.
“It doesn’t affect me,” he said. “I feel like if I go down there and do what I have to do, it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m glad to have him on board. I see him as a chance to make our team better.
“At the end of the day, he’s still my competition, so I still have to go down there and do what I have to do to make sure I start.”
Although his phone hasn’t received calls from other schools, Allen has stayed in regular contact with the Crimson Tide coaching staff.
The Virginia native says he talks with UA assistant Lance Thompson at least once a week, and every now and then, he catches up with head coach Nick Saban. He plans to visit Tuscaloosa for a game at some point this fall.
For now, Allen is focused on his senior season at Stone Bridge.
“For me personally I want to finish the year with 30 sacks, and for the team I would love a state championship.”