July 11, 2008

Allen plans return to Ole Miss

Ole Miss has been in on San Antonio (Alamo Heights) quarterback Drew Allen almost since last signing day last February with Allen making an unofficial visit last March, and now several other schools have joined the quest for the 6-foot-5, 198 pound signal caller's services.

As some of the more highly rated quarterbacks have come off the board with commitments, more and more schools are getting in on the Rebels' secret when it comes to Allen.

Allen took two visits this week - first to Purdue on Tuesday and then to Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

And, while Allen refuses to name a favorite and professes to be "pretty much open," Ole Miss remains high in the running despite the competition.

"I really still like Ole Miss," Allen said on Thursday afternoon. "I visited there a long time ago, but I still feel it's a place where I could end up."

With redshirt sophomore Jevan Snead set for two, perhaps three years at quarterback, and newcomer Nathan Stanley inbound, the Rebels are short across the board at the position. Snead figures to be backed up by junior Billy Tapp, who has no game experience - and spent one year at tight end - unless Stanley can unseat him. The quarterback situation means the Rebels need to sign two prospects at the position next February.

The Rebels got a commitment from Louisville, Miss. quarterback Clayton Moore last month, and are still in the market for one more prospect to sign next year. The Moore commitment puts the Rebels in a position where they can be selective and they may have Allen at the top of their list - especially with the unlikely possibility of getting a commitment from either of the two remaining quarterbacks that they have offered. Those two are Kansas City dual-threat quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and Alabama commitment AJ McCarron.

"I do feel like I'm their number one guy," Allen said. "They treated me that way on my visit and I have a great relationship with (offensive coordinator) Coach (Kent) Austin and (head coach) Houston Nutt."

The problem for the Rebels is that even if Allen is the top guy on their hot board at the position, Allen feels at least "three or four" other schools also have him in the same position.

"It's really an honor for schools to tell you that you are their top guy," Allen said. "But it also makes it a tough decision. When I do make a decision, it's really going to be tough to call some of the other coaches and tell them that I'm going somewhere else."

One thing that hasn't spooked Allen when it comes to the possibility of signing with Ole Miss is the current quarterback situation, including the commitment of Moore.

"If Clayton has decided that Ole Miss is the best fit for him, I congratulate him on that," Allen said. "But I realized a long time ago that there's going to be competition no matter where I go. It's a tough situation, but there can only be one quarterback on the field. I have to find the right place for me."

Allen currently lists offers from Ole Miss, Purdue, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Colorado, Duke, Colorado, Rice, UTEP, and New Mexico State.

He said his visit to Purdue and Oklahoma State will end his campus tours with the exception of a return visit to Ole Miss, currently planned for next week. However, he did say that he'll likely participate in a punting camp in San Marcos and in a "Top Gun" passing camp in Orlando in the near future.

Allen said in a previous interview that on his first trip to Ole Miss, he had only seen the facilitates and academic center and on the return trip, he wants to see more of the campus and interact with current players.

Allen was impressed after his first visit, but don't expect him to make a verbal pledge if his second trip goes as well.

"That's not the way I want to do it (commit on a visit)," he said. "I don't want to do anything emotional. I want time to think things through."

Allen's current time frame for committing is by the end of the summer.

One person who will have an impact on his decision is his father, who played defensive end for Texas during the same time Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell was there. His father has accompanied him on all his campus tours.

"The first thing about my father is that he's such a great judge of character," Allen said. "I really like his feedback and what he thinks and says is very important to me."

Allen has a 3.8 GPA and has already made a 26 on his ACT.

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