Monday, December 29, 2014

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

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.

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

 
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    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.

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    "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

    About this blog
    Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 20 years, covering college sports, golf and the Penn Relays.

    Joining Joe this season will be John Stuetz, an intern for The Inquirer and senior at Penn State majoring in print journalism and marketing. This is John's third season covering the Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A native of Glenside, Montgomery County, John graduated from Cheltenham High School.

    For Joe, this will be his fifth season on the paper's Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976 to 1984.

    Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

    Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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