DeMartha Catholic running back Mark Allen becomes Penn State's first 2014 commit

DeMatha Catholic running back Mark Allen's recruitment was just picking up.

The 5-foot-7, 185-pound prospect was drawing interest from about a dozen schools, including West Virginia, Maryland and Wake Forest, according to Allen's high school coach, Elijah Brooks.

But when Penn State coach Bill O'Brien spoke with Allen late Monday night, and offered the junior a full scholarship, that was it. Allen committed right away, without hesitation.

The Hyattsville, Md. native became the first member of Penn State's 2014 recruiting class.

"He really wanted Penn State all along," Brooks said. "He was hoping this day would come for a long time. He couldn't be happier."

Brooks said that the Nittany Lions current success -- Penn State rides a four-game winning streak into this weeks game at Iowa -- played a small role in Allen's decision.

"It definitely didn't hurt, and he really likes the things Bill O'Brien is doing there," Brooks said. "But Penn State was his dream school. I think he might've gone there, no matter what."

Allen first caught Penn State's coaches eyes when he attended a football camp on campus last summer. He recorded a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash, according to several recruiting sites.

DeMatha Catholic is 7-1 this season.

Brooks described Allen as a "jokester." The coach said Allen "always has something to say."

"And I mean that in the best way possible," Brooks said, with a laugh. "But when it comes down to it, he's one of the hardest workers I've ever seen. He's a competitor."

When O'Brien recruited Allen, the coach compared the running back to Danny Woodhead.

As far as selling points go, that's not a bad comparison.

-Emily Kaplan