One-on-One: Jordan Allen ‘15 - Thayer Academy Football
Thayer Academy WR/DB Jordan Allen '15 made a big splash in the Massachusetts football recruiting scene on Friday as he received his first offer from Boston College. The 6-foot-2 WR/DB has turned many heads recently with his improved play and development and has scouts across the nation locked in.
Allen talked about his commitment to being a student-athlete, his recruiting development and his football team at Thayer Academy in a One-on-One interview with Mass Prep Stars on Monday.
You have come on strong this off-season as a top recruit in the Class of 2015. Can you talk about the work/training you have put into your game since the season ended and the camps and college schedule you have been keeping?
I have been working out both on campus at Thayer Academy and during the off-season both last year (March 2013 – June 2013 and this year (January 2014 through March 2014) at Edge Performance Systems located in Foxboro MA with trainers Erik Lundquist, Andrew Lizotte, Deron Mayo and Brian McDonough. I begin working out there last year during my 10th grade year and it has made a huge difference in my strength, size and speed as well as overall durability. It has been a great place for me to find and I thank the folks out there for all their help as it has made all the difference.
I recently participated in the Pylon Football 7 on 7 in Las Vegas from March 14 – March 16th and had a good showing against some excellent competition with five total catches and one touchdown catch. It was a great opportunity and experience to compete both with and against some excellent players. While on the West Coast, prior to the Vegas tournament, I went to visit the University of Southern California, which was a great campus visit with a wonderful and rich football tradition, excellent academics and incredible facilities on campus. While in California, my Dad and I also went down to San Diego State as well as UCLA. It was a great trip and a chance to see some excellent schools on the West coast and the schools really showed a lot of interest and invited me back for their one day camps during the June time frame.
You picked up your first offer from Coach Addazio and Boston College on Friday. Can you talk a little about that offer and your thoughts on BC?
Boston College is an excellent academic University and with my interest in Business, the Carroll School of Management is an outstanding business school which is a huge interest for me.
Football is again on the rise and Head Coach Addazio, receivers coach Todd Fitch and coach Kevin Lempa who has been the main recruiter for me have formed a great relationship. It’s quite a blessing to receive the offer from Boston College who is in my backyard as I live in Brookline, Massachusetts.
I really like the more wide open oriented offense they have shifted to with the loss of Heisman candidate Andre Williams, which spreads the ball around to many athletically gifted players. On Friday, March 28, BC’s wide receivers coach Todd Fitch told me to call him later that day, as he wanted me to get a chance to talk to Coach Addazio. When I called, Coach Fitch and I had a good conversation and then I talked to Coach Addazio. He told me he liked the way I played ball and I was the right guy for their system and said he wanted to offer me. It was very exciting.
Can you talk a little about how your recruitment has picked up lately and your thoughts on the recruiting process overall?
I think you just have to stay focused on your academics and athletic performance and staying patient. It can be a slow process some times and very rapid at other times so staying level headed is essential. I’ve learned not to get too excited or too down about any one day or event in the recruitment process. My Dad always says “It’s a Journey which can be long and difficult, it’s Not a sprint.” My Head Football Coach Jeff Toussaint and Dad have worked hard in getting information out to coaches/recruiters.
I do believe playing football in Massachusetts, which is not known for high school football but more for Hockey and Lacrosse, means fewer recruiters have us on their radar screen compared to football states like Georgia, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California. Thanks to organizations like Mass Prep Stars, who have been great in creating me a profile and giving me a State ranking and I am much appreciative for the exposure. In today’s world, the Internet and social media has some great advantages. I’ have stayed focused on continuing to do well academically in school and allowed my athletic performance to speak for itself. After a good showing in Las Vegas at the Pylon 7-on-7 event it has given the recruitment process even more momentum.
Talk about your game overall? What are your strengths as a football player and what is something you are continuing to work to improve on?
I am very athletic, big (6’2” tall, 192 lbs and fast – 4.52 40 yard dash) and a natural hands catcher. When the ball is in play, I attack the football as a receiver and always catch the ball at its highest point as I have a vertical jump of nearly 40” (39.25 inches). With a 6’6” wingspan and still growing, I have a big catching radius so if you get the ball in my “area code”, I am going to make the catch. I am not afraid to catch the ball over the middle or in traffic. I am an effective wide out, in the slot or out of the backfield. I also really enjoy blocking down field for teammates to spring them for yards.
I continue to work on running crisper routes and my lateral quickness and I am always in the weight room, as strength is critically important.
Who have been your role models on and off the field and people that have helped you along your way?
My role models off the field are my parents. They believe in education first and have always challenged me to be a good student, good citizen who is respectful and great manners as well as being humble and hungry and having a work ethic which is second to none.
My biggest role models on the field have been Hall of Fame receivers like Chris Carter, Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin. Their wisdom in playing receiver is second to none.
In addition, my four friends Aaron Gilmer, Archi Jerome, CJ Burke, and Isaiah Robinson, who I consider my brothers. They are peer role models who are in college all playing collegiate sports and doing well academically. Two of them play Cornerback at Bryant University and Trinity College, while the other two play Basketball at Dickinson College and Connecticut College. I look up to them because they’ve gone through the recruiting process and push me to be the best receiver. Doing 1-on-1’s against two college cornerbacks has been a huge factor in my success at Thayer Academy.
You have played with some talented guys over the past three seasons at Thayer. Can you talk a little about your past and current teammates and teams and how your game has progressed at Thayer over the years?
No doubt playing with past teammates like Aaron Gilmer, Archi Jerome, Bryan Vieira, Quentin Hall, Jack Becker, Jamie Becker, Ikena Nwokeji, Conor O’Brien, Brendan Ford and a host of others too many to list has been great in the learning process and competitive environment during practice. The wisdom of older players is always essential in the growth of a team and has been really great for me in playing with these guys.
This coming year we are returning a lot of players, but have also lost some key seniors. This year we should have a solid team and with some key additions have the chance to be a very good team. There is a good chance I will be playing more in the backfield as well as receiver to help the team this year.
My game has really progressed over the past three years at Thayer. I have always been a good athletic but being able to go from 160 pounds to 195 pounds has really helped me become a dominant receiver. It also allows me to be more versatile, being able to get off the line with strength and speed and the combination of size and speed makes me more dangerous.
Talk a little more about your expectations for your senior season next year at Thayer both as a team and individually.
Football is the ultimate team game with 11 players working together. It begins with everyone from the folks in the trenches on the offensive and defensive lines to the linebackers, defensive backs and offensive backfield players and us all having solid play on both offense and defense. Everyone has been working hard during the off-season in preparation for the upcoming season which we feel will be successful.
This season I plan to be a contributor again on offense and defense in addition to some special teams utilizing my punt return ability and working me both out of the backfield and receiver to create some opportunities in open space to create additional big play opportunities. We have a lot of good weapons such as running back Sam Murphy and cornerback Jake Marcelino. Our line is looking really strong starting with our Center Mike Pulsifer, and including Brendan Muldoon and Patrick Lawler.
Can you also talk a little about school overall and the balance between academics and athletics? Talk about the importance of academics in your college search.
Both of my parents are Academics and hold doctorate degrees, so academics in my home is always first and foremost. From Brookline Public Schools to the Fessenden School in West Newton to Thayer Academy and beyond, this will always be about academics for me. This is about setting myself up for the rest of my life by acquiring an education and earning a college degree. School is option #1 and football is the backup plan as no matter what happens, the day will come for everyone when you simply can no longer play sports. It is fairly simple for me what the main focus is in this process.
That does not mean that I do not want to be a successful athlete and will not give 150% effort but I will give that effort to both areas as I totally understand the term “student-athlete”. All of my teachers have been extremely supportive and are always willing to assist when I have been in need of extra help. Both Fessenden and Thayer have been great places for me both academically and athletically.
Lastly, from your current experience, if you can give any advice to a student-athlete going through the college recruiting process and being a prospective college athlete, what would it be?
My advice to any student-athlete going through the process of being recruited would be to be patient and take care of everything that you can control. You can’t control things like what a college or coaches thinks about you, but you can control how well you do in school academically, continue to work hard each and every day to be the best person, student and athlete you can be. I always tell myself that there is somebody else out there who I don’t know who is working hard, so it drives me to work even longer and harder each and every day in every endeavor. It’s a “pay me now, or pay me later” approach. The more time and energy you spend working early in the high school process or middle school or even elementary school the more you can enjoy the success of your labor down the road and the recruiting process. Also, being a good student opens up an entirely different array of schools who can and will recruit you.
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