The Hurry-Up: Schools Starting to Show More Interest in Top 10 Safety Braelon Allen, Mike Hall Grabs Gene Smith's Attention

By Zack Carpenter on April 10, 2020 at 6:39 pm
Braelon Allen
Braelon Allen (Max Siker, 247Sports)

The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Schools showing more interest in Allen

Mark Pantoni mentioned last week how Ohio State's coaching staff has been getting out ahead of evaluations on players in the 2022 class, as the coronavirus-induced lockdown nationwide has allowed them to focus on watching sophomore players' film much more than they have in the past.

“If anything, it gives you that initial preview of who they are, what their upside’s gonna be over the next few years,” Pantoni said.

One of the players Ohio State has been monitoring is Fond Du Lac (Wisc.) defensive back Braelon Allen, the No. 6-ranked sophomore safety, No. 116-ranked overall player and fourth-ranked player in Wisconsin.

Allen is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound safety who holds just three total offers, though those are three quality offers (Wisconsin, Iowa, Notre Dame) whose coaches have taken a strong liking to him.

“The recruiting process is going a little slow at the moment, but more schools are beginning to show more interest,” Allen told Eleven Warriors. ”I’d say the schools I’ve started building the best relationships with are Wisconsin, Iowa, Notre Dame, and Clemson right now.

“I honestly have no idea why offers haven’t started piling up, but it doesn’t bug me too much because you only need one, and the only three that I have are great ones and I can see myself at all three of those schools.”

Ohio State has offered 30 players in the 2022 class thus far and has extended only five offers to defensive back prospects (that includes bullet target C.J. Hicks and athlete Kamari Ramsey), while Clemson has not yet extended any offers in the sophomore class at all.

“I haven’t talked to any OSU coaches lately but I’m trying to get on the phone with a few while this lockdown is going on,” Allen said. “Clemson hasn’t offered any 2022 (players) yet because they wait until you finish your sophomore year so they can see four semesters of transcript, but they’ll start offering this summer and they made it sound like I won’t have to wait very long.”

One of the reasons Allen may not be getting offers is because he still needs to improve on his straight-line speed, which he will have plenty of time to do. At the January All-American Bowl National Combine, which features only underclassmen, the sophomore ran a 5.1-second 40-yard dash and a 5.0-second shuttle, flashed a 30-inch vertical and 10-foot broad jump and measured in with a 76-inch wingspan.

Those are decent numbers for Allen, but those 40 and shuttle times will need to improve to the 4.6-4.7 range and 4.3-4.5 range, respectively, if he hopes to become one of the Buckeyes' top targets in the 2022 class at safety. For comparison, Lathan Ransom ran a 4.67 in the 40 and 4.20 in the shuttle in the summer prior to his senior season.

For someone like Allen, who is known for his work ethic in the weight room, don't be surprised if those numbers look very different by the time he's signing his letter of intent down the road – even if getting in those workouts is a lot tougher these days – as he knows he will need to improve those times. In fact, he says he already has improved that time down to 4.62 after having run that time in San Antonio while unhealthy.

“Workout-wise I’ve just been doing what I can with equipment that I have and finding grass to keep up with my agility and speed work,” Allen said. “I was actually hurt (with a groin injury) when I was tested at the All-American Combine and shaved off 0.5 (seconds) during track when I was healthy, but nobody really knows that.”

Smith shouts out Hall's creativity ... sort of

Per NCAA rules, college coaches, administrators and other personnel are not allowed to mention high school players by name until they have signed with a college program.

But that didn't stop Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith from giving Buckeyes junior defensive tackle commit Mike Hall a shoutout on a Friday morning teleconference with reporters ... sort of.

Smith, of course, didn't mention Hall by name, but he did mention that “I think I saw some kid on Twitter that was doing bench presses underneath his bed.”

That may or may not have been the Streetsboro (Ohio) standout lineman, who tweeted out a video of just that on Sunday, though a few seem to have followed Hall's lead there.

Whatever it takes. It's a time to get creative. For example, I grabbed a bunch of books off my shelf that I've never read – it's a lot of fun to go on a buying spree at Barnes and Noble before remembering you need to actually have the time to sit down and read them – and filled a backpack with them and strapped it to my back so I could do weighted squats and lunges. It actually worked really well so there's an amateur tip for you. But I digress.

Smith mentioned the Twitter video he saw after being asked on Friday whether or not the athletics department is able to send out materials or groceries to any of its student-athletes, including football players.

“We’ve been able to provide some nutrition to some kids based upon their circumstance and where they are. Then we’ve been able to provide some workout equipment to some of our athletes that don’t have access to equipment,” Smith said. “We’ve been able to send some devices and some nutritional supplements – some bars and Gatorade and stuff. That’s been done.”

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