After the Texas Longhorns lost out on 2013 Fort Worth Southwest wide receiver Robbie Rhodes and had Sealy athlete Ricky Seals-Jones decommit, one of the major questions emerging from both unfortunate scenarios was whether or not the coaching staff would opt to pursue another wide receiver in the class.
Dallas Skyline wide receiver Ra'Shaad Samples has increasingly fallen off the radar and is likely headed to Texas A&M when he makes his decision at The Opening next month, but there is now another prospect on the radar -- Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep wide receiver Devon Allen, a 6-1, 187-pounder with 10.48 speed in the 100m.
A four-star prospect by Rivals and Scout, 247Sports has him as a three-star prospect, which seems rather inexplicable after watching the film. In any case, there are plenty of schools around the country pursuing Allen, who has in excess of 20 offers from some of the top programs in college football, including Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford, and Tennessee.
There hasn't been much news on Allen in recent weeks in terms of his summer visit plans, but he did tell Scout more than a month ago that he's interested in Washington ($) after living in the Seattle area previously and that he intends on visiting Arkansas at some point. Beyond that, the only apparent visit he has made this spring, according to his 247Sports profile, was a trip to Oklahoma in late April.
At this point, the sense from quick research is that Allen is quite wide open in his recruitment, a positive sign for the Longhorns if an offer is eventually extended.
Wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt made contact with Allen ($) and his family in recent days and his father shared his brief thoughts to Hookem.com:
Texas is a good program. It would be great for him to go there. They are a good school and they are relatively close to home, so he wouldn't be too far off.
Even after losing out on Christian Westerman in the 2011 class, Connor Brewer inked with the TGOD group, and Cole Luke is in the mix at cornerback still, so the Longhorns have had some success recruiting in Arizona, which tends to be a wide-open state with neither Arizona nor Arizona State capable at this time of competing with the national powerhouse programs that are raiding the state for top talent.
Back to Allen -- his track speed extends past his 100m efforts. In fact, he's the state record holder in the 110 and 300m hurdles, enough success that he intends to continue his track career in college.
As pointed out by Hookem.com, the Longhorns have a recent track (sorry) record of helping players balance track and football commitments and while the loss of spring practice reps has to be frustrating for the football coaches at times, having a lot of nationally-elite speed is always a good problem to have.
Devon Allen- Junior Year, 2011 Varsity Highlights (Full Season) (via louisallen2)
On film, Allen has a combination of elite speed in his top gear, as well as the suddenness to get off the line of scrimmage as well as any receiver prospect in the class. Watching him on jet sweeps is particularly impressive, as the Arizona product visibly opens the throttle after the mesh, but still shows the vision to cut up the field when openings present themselves.
Much like Robbie Rhodes, a similar threat vertically with a similar extra gear and success in track and field, Allen is a strong vertical threat with his speed. Elusive enough after the catch to make it dangerous to play off and give up the hitches, it's still amusing to watch defensive backs fail to sink hard into their backpedals early enough and allow Allen to run right by them. On double moves, his change of direction ability is reminiscent of the Shipley brothers, though Allen's long speed is better.
Amusing as well to see the lack of bracket coverage on Allen or poor angles taken by the safeties when they are over the top. Some poor work by opposing defensive coordinators and equally poor execution -- especially since it seems unlikely that there are other record-setting track stars playing receiver for Brophy Prep.
And all that discussion is not to take anything away from Allen, who consistently turns such mistakes into big plays.
As expected for an athlete of Allen's caliber, he has the body control to adjust to the football by using the same fluidity that makes him effective after the catch, it's just that many of the efforts to stop him are comically inept on multiple levels.
Devon Allen is very good at making opponents look comically inept because Devon Allen is very good.