HINSDALE — With his size and ability, a slew of big-time college football programs across the country courted Brian Allen.
The Hinsdale Central junior put an end to his recruiting process when he committed to Michigan State during the Spartans' spring game Saturday.
He will join older brother Jack Allen on the team, but that wasn't the only reason the Spartans stood out above Iowa and Ole Miss, the other two schools to make his final short list.
"Coach (Mark) Dantonio and the staff, they're great coaches but they're better people," Allen said. "You could really tell that going from school to school. I found some places like that — Iowa and Ole Miss were like that, which made it real hard to walk away from them — but they really stood out there."
Of course, playing alongside his brother has a certain draw. The two have a healthy competitive streak, but now that they'll be on the same team, Brian Allen is eyeing playing along the same line as his brother, who will be a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman this coming season.
"That's one thing that's kind of a goal of mine," the younger Allen said. "In order to play with him, I'll have to start as a redshirt freshman. That doesn't always happen."
It's not hard to see why Michigan State, plus most other Big Ten and Division I programs, were interested. An explosive player on both sides of the ball and already a two-year varsity starter, Allen racked up 25 tackles and four sacks on defense and blocked for a Red Devils offense that scored 268 points last season, including 30 points or more four times. He played defensive line as a sophomore.
Allen, who had 13 other offers from schools across the nation, said he made close to 20 campus visits, both official and unofficial, but didn't feel any pressure to make his college choice before his senior season at Central.
"I took a lot of my visits on the weekends and I never really missed anything (with Central), so (the recruiting process) was never too much of a distraction," he said. "It was just the place for me. It was the best fit for me, so why wait?"
Allen said Michigan State's coaches plan to redshirt him during his first year on campus and that eventually they plan to play him as a center or guard on the offensive line. That plans sounds fine to Allen.
"They want me to redshirt, and I don't mind," said Allen, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 275 pounds. "I need time to get bigger and adjust to the college game."
Not one to rest on his laurels, Allen is working hard to improve all facets of his game. So the morning weightlifting and training sessions with Central offensive line coach Mike Jones will continue. It's all in fitting with the kind of player State will get when Allen arrives on campus.
"They're getting a tough player who plays with passion and wants to get after it," Allen said.