NittanyNation: You're the first and only commit right now. Do you feel kind of an obligation to talk to other recruits and get them to commit, or do you try to distance yourself from that side of things?
Mark Allen: Yeah, I have to play a role as a leader. We have a good 2013 class coming in with Christian Hackenberg, and now it's time for me to be a leader. Even if I wasn't the first guy, I'd still play that role so I can get this class to be the best it can be, because I want guys in my class who are going to lead us to a bowl game or a championship.
I'll be at the junior day [on Feb. 23], and if junior day has some other people Coach O'Brien is recruiting in the 2014 class, that's where I got to play my role as a leader and try to start this 2014 class off.
NN: You didn't need long to realize Penn State was the school you wanted to commit to. Why did you commit so early; what was it about PSU that made it feel right?
MA: Well, I went up there to a camp, and it just felt like that's where I was supposed to be. It's kind of hard to explain, but the coaches up there gave the greatest vibe. I was clicking with the coaches. Penn State is just the best school from a social, academic and football standpoint.
They got good programs such as criminal justice; that's what I want to major in. And, from a social standpoint, everyone in Pennsylvania just loves Penn State.
NN: Who were those coaches giving off the good vibes? What'd they do exactly?
MA: It was Charles London and Coach [Larry] Johnson. Coach Johnson came down to one of my practices the week I got injured, the week they offered me. The funny thing is when I was at the camp, I didn't know what the head coach looked like. He was right beside me the whole time, and I didn't know who it was.
I was joking around with him, and I didn't know he was the head coach. I was telling him these linebackers can't touch me, stuff like that. And, the next day I found out who he was, and I was just like, 'Oh, hello sir. Hi, sir. How are you doing?' He was really cool. Coach O'Brien's one of the coolest coaches I ever met.
NN: You alluded to your injury, your torn ACL. How's your rehab going right now, and what's kind of in your head as motivation?
MA: It's good. Doctors say I'm ahead of schedule. I've been lifting for two weeks now, and I'm working on jumps and squats and weights. I haven't talked to Adam [Breneman] in a while, but I'll probably text him to see how he's doing. But my motivation is just to get back; I'm motivating myself.
NN: What are you most looking forward to about playing for Penn State, and what's your No. 1 goal?
MA: I'm just looking forward to bringing it back up. I want to win some bowl games. They took ours away, but I'm looking forward to being part of the 2014 class and winning bowl games and getting Penn State back on top, where it's supposed to be. That's my main goal.
I'm also hoping to make the league, too. ... Coach O'Brien's got a lot of NFL connects, so I feel like if I ball out for all my four years, five years, then I feel like he can put me into the best position I can be.