NCF On The Trail: Marcus Allen

Best Big Ten recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

Michigan and Ohio State both sit in the top 10 recruiting rankings this year after each landed top 10 classes in 2013 -- the Buckeyes were third, while the Wolverines were sixth.

That's why it should come as no surprise that the two schools have the top four recruiters in the Big Ten Conference for the Class of 2014 so far.

Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters in the Big Ten and why they deserve such high praise:


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Bill O’Brien isn’t missing a chance to put Penn State on center stage this week as the Nittany Lions prepare to play host to undefeated Michigan.

With an eye to the future, the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year has more than a busload full of visitors coming to check in on his program.

Here are the biggest names scheduled to head to Happy Valley this weekend.

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Summer recruit wrap: Penn State 

July, 23, 2013
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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- What have we learned about Penn State, recruiting-wise, from the summer?

NittanyNation outlined 10 different lessons. Here they are:


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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The Nittany Lions have nearly closed out their 2014 class and have basically addressed every need. But what were the biggest needs heading into this class anyway, and just how well has PSU done?

NittanyNation takes a closer look at PSU's five areas of need in the 2014 class and just what they've achieved already with this group.


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Three Penn State commits are currently ranked in the ESPN 300 -- WR De'Andre Thompkins (No. 54), QB Michael O'Connor (No. 125), WR Chris Godwin (No. 153) -- so NittanyNation wanted to find out a little bit more about the headlining trio.

The same five questions were posed to each commit and ranged from the top reason they picked PSU to their thoughts on their ESPN rankings and what other PSU commit should've made the ESPN 300. Here's what they had to say:


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Weekly commitment roundup

May, 17, 2013
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ACC
Duke
Zach Harmon OG Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic
HT: 6-foot-4 WT: 275 pounds
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kerrion Moore RB Gastonia, N.C./Hunter Huss
HT: 5-8 WT: 180
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Chris Taylor WR Coconut Creek, Fla./North Broward Prep
HT: 6-0 WT: 168
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Miami
Brad Kaaya QB-PP West Hill, Calif./Chaminade College Prep
HT: 6-4 WT: 213
Position Rank: #12 QB-PP
Stars: 4

NC State
Coult Culler OLB Wilmington, N.C./E.A. Laney
HT: 6-4 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Jalan McClendon QB-PP Charlotte, N.C./West Mecklenburg
HT: 6-4 WT: 195
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big 12
Baylor
Jordan Feuerbacher TE-Y Kingwood, Texas/Kingwood Park
HT: 6-4 WT: 240
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Xavier Jones DE Magnolia, Texas/Magnolia West
HT: 6-3 WT: 200
Position Rank: #32 DE
Stars: 3

Iowa State
Sam Seonbuchner OLB Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead
HT: 6-2 WT: 223
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kansas
Kyron Watson OLB East Saint Louis, Ill./East Saint Louis
HT: 6-1 WT: 210
Position Rank: #4 OLB
Stars: 4
ESPN 150 (#100)

Oklahoma
Marcus Green CB Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill
HT: 6-1 WT: 176
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big East
Louisville
Isaiah Ford WR Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy
HT: 6-1 WT: 161
Position Rank: #34 WR
Stars: 4

George Rushing WR Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons
HT: 6-0 WT: 182
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Rutgers
Justin Herron OG Potomac, Md./Bullis School
HT: 6-4 WT: 275
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Ten
Michigan State
Chris Frey Jr. OLB Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington
HT: 6-2 WT: 214
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Matt Sokol ATH Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams
HT: 6-5 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Northwestern
Blake Hance TE-Y Jacksonville, Ill./Jacksonville
HT: 6-6 WT: 260
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Justin Jackson RB Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North
HT: 5-11 WT: 175
Position Rank: #32 RB
Stars: 4

Ohio State
Lonnie Johnson WR Gary, Ind./West Side
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Position Rank: #41 WR
Stars: 4

Penn State
Marcus Allen S Upper Marlboro, Md./Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr.
HT: 6-2 WT: 190
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Jared Wangler OLB Warren, Mich./De La Salle Collegiate
HT: 6-2 WT: 218
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Wisconsin
Billy Hirschfeld DE Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead
HT: 6-6 WT: 267
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Ula Tolutau ATH Salt Lake City, Utah/East
HT: 6-1 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Pac-12
UCLA
Dionte Sykes WR Chandler, Ariz./Chandler
HT: 6-2 WT: 205
Position Rank: #49 WR
Stars: 3

Utah
Raelon Singleton WR Crosby, Texas/Crosby
HT: 6-4 WT: 185
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Washington
Chase Blakely DE Coeur D'Alene, Idaho/Coeur D'Alene
HT: 6-4 WT: 221
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Washington State
Greg Hoyd OLB Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta
HT: 6-1 WT: 191
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

SEC
Auburn
Derrick Moncrief S Prattville, Ala./Mississippi Gulf Coast CC
HT: 6-3 WT: 226
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Justin Thornton DE Prichard, Ala./Vigor
HT: 6-5 WT: 225
Position Rank: #13 DE
Stars: 4
ESPN 150 (#111)

Kentucky
Drew Barker QB-PP Hebron, Ky./Conner Senior
HT: 6-4 WT: 205
Position Rank: #7 QB-PP
Stars: 4
ESPN 150 (#141)

Kobie Walker S Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel
HT: 6-3 WT: 188
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

LSU
D'haquille Williams WR Laplace, La./Mississippi Gulf Coast CC
HT: 6-3 WT: 210
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Missouri
Michael Fairchild OT Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West
HT: 6-6 WT: 270
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Finis Stribling IV CB Thompson's Station, Tenn./Independence
HT: 5-11 WT: 167
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Mississippi State
Dontavian Lee RB Brooklyn, Miss./Forest County Agriculture
HT: 6-0 WT: 205
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Vanderbilt
Montez Sweat TE-Y Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson
HT: 6-6 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Five stories to watch: D.C. NFTC 

April, 19, 2013
4/19/13
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Andrew BrownScott Fink for ESPNDefensive tackle Andrew Brown is the No. 3-ranked player overall in the ESPN 150.

Here are five storylines to watch on Sunday.

How will the ESPN 150 fare?

At least five prospects in the ESPN 150 are set to take part on Sunday: DT Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith), CB Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate), OT Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara), WR Adonis Jennings (Erial, N.J./Timber Creek) and QB Caleb Henderson (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock). Brown will be the top prospect there, as he's ranked as the No. 3 overall player in the country, while Tabor is No. 19 and Prince is No. 33. Henderson committed to North Carolina last week, but the other ESPN 150 prospects are still searching for that right school.


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Marcus Allen walked briskly through the hallways of Upper Marlboro (Md.) Wise on his way to the varsity coach's classroom.

He didn't know he was just minutes away from a conversation that would set his football future into motion, that would allow him to gain nearly 20 scholarship offers before the end of his junior year. For now, near the end of his freshman season, he just knew coach DaLawn Parrish wanted to chat with him.

Marcus Allen
Josh Moyer/ESPNA four-inch growth spurt helped Marcus Allen go from junior varsity linebacker to starting free safety on the varsity squad. Now the rising senior is one of the top prospects in Maryland.
He could feel his heart thumping in his chest, and he wondered what Parrish could possibly have to say. Was it good? Was it bad? Was it about an injury that allowed him to play just four JV games? Was it about a teammate?

"Everybody gets nervous when Coach Parrish wants to talk to you," Allen said. "Everybody."

The coach motioned the freshman linebacker inside, and the two stood across from one another. Parrish, a former defensive back at Wake Forest, told Allen -- who had undergone a four-inch growth spurt, from 5-foot-8 to 6-1 -- that he wanted him to move up to varsity.

Allen shook his head. He was hesitant. He had played in just four games, and scholarships weren't on his mind at that point; playing with his friends was. And when Parrish mentioned moving to safety, Allen couldn't believe it. He had no experience with that position at all.

"A lot of times, young men are apprehensive," Parrish said. "They don't know just how good they really are. And I knew he was going to be special."

Parrish began sketching out Cover-2 diagrams on the dry eraseboard behind him. It might as well have been advanced algebra because, Allen admitted, he had no idea what he was looking at. He wasn't even sure what a safety's role was.

The coach, a man with closely cropped hair and a thin goatee, then asked Allen to backpedal right there in the classroom. He laughed slightly when Allen clumsily tried to run backward. Allen didn't agree to move up right then, but it was a start.


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Marcus Allen (Upper Marlboro, Md./Wise) stood off to the side in Holuba Hall, his eyes focused on the action in front of him, while Penn State players darted from side to side on the first day of spring practice.

His teammate, cornerback Joe Shelton, sat on a bench while Allen -- a 2014 safety -- chatted with departing defensive tackle Jordan Hill, a projected second- or third-round draft pick. On a chilly Monday, beneath a gray beanie and a jacket zipped up to his chin, Allen just smiled.

"That was my favorite part, the practice, to be honest," he said Tuesday evening. "It was just the intensity there, especially the one-on-ones. The competition level was just very high. I liked it there a lot."

The pair of defensive backs arrived on campus around 9 a.m. and didn't leave until 8:30 p.m. It was Shelton's first unofficial visit to a college, and it was Allen's second visit to Happy Valley -- and his first was incredibly brief.

The 6-foot-2 safety trains at the gym where cornerback Stephon Morris' father, Roman, works. So he heard plenty about PSU from him -- and from early enrollee Jordan Smith, who also competed there. But Allen said his previous interest mainly derived from second-hand information. He didn't know much about the Nittany Lions, so he said before his visit that the trip there would be critical in forming an opinion.

The three-hour drive would let him know if he just liked the name, "Penn State," or if he really liked the school. And, Allen emphasized afterward, he now likes more than just that name. After watching that practice and speaking to the coaches, he likes everything Penn State has to offer.

"Yeah, it's fair to say that," he said. "Before the trip, I didn't know much about the school except for what happened with [Jerry] Sandusky, just with the whole sanctions and everything. I just knew they still had a nice brotherhood and they stuck together -- and that the tradition is outstanding. That's the only thing I really knew.

"When I went on the visit, it changed my whole outlook on Penn State. I just like it a lot. I mean, everything -- the players, the coaches, the facilities -- my outlook just really changed."

Allen holds nearly 20 offers -- including ones from PSU, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech -- while Shelton is still searching for his first scholarship. The two prospects ate breakfast before starting their visit around 10:45 a.m. by taking a campus tour. From there, they spoke with defensive coordinator John Butler and safeties coach Anthony Midget, then came the academic advisers, then the weight room, training staff, a tour of the practice facility, lunch, practice, dinner, the locker room and one last chat with Bill O'Brien and assistant coaches Larry Johnson and Midget.

They tried on jerseys, visited Beaver Stadium and snapped photos throughout the long day.


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