An Interview with Mark Allen

Justin K. Aller

The first to commit to the 2014 Recruiting Class answered some questions

Unfortunately, this will be the last of the formal interviews for the foreseeable future. I haven't been able to get into contact with Daquan Worley, Troy Apke, Troy Reeder, or Nick Scott as of now; if I do, more interviews will follow. But if that day doesn't come, I truly hope that you all enjoyed these interviews as much as I enjoyed doing them.

I did this interview differently than the previous ones, so there are some slight differences (more follow ups), but the basic questions I asked still remained the same. Mark Allen committed alllllll the way back on October 16, 2012 to play under Bill O'Brien. His lead recruiters were Larry Johnson and Charles London. Despite having been committed for about 8 months now, he has never waived on that commitment. According to 247 Sports, Mark is the 39th ranked running back overall, the 13th ranked player in Maryland, and has 3 stars from Rivals, 247, and Scout. Here we go!

When your recruitment first started, was there anything specific you were looking for in a school? Did you have any ideas about where you thought you were going to end up?

I really didn't know where I'd end up, but my family and I were specifically looking for a school that's high on academics and has a strong football program that I'd fit into and play as early as possible.

Did you start out with PSU as one of your top options? With their strong reputation for academics?

Yeah pretty much, they have a great criminal justice program which happens to be what I'm majoring in, so that was a plus.

I inquired as to why Mark wants to enter into criminal justice, and he told me, "This might seems stupid, but I've been watching detective shows like NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds, etc. and I just started liking everything about it hahah." I don't think it's too bold to say that this is the case for quite a large number of people majoring in criminal justice these days. It's hard not to get hooked on shows like those.

Was there a particular moment or something that happened that made you realize you wanted to come to PSU? Or was it just the process playing itself out?

The summer before junior year, Penn State was the only 3 day camp that I went to. I got a feel for the campus and the coaches gave off a great vibe. I felt that I could fit in well, and coach O'Brien was the coolest!

Have you gotten a chance to meet any of the other guys in your class?

Yeah mostly all of them except a few. Hopefully I will meet them at the BBQ later in the month.

Do you know any of the guys on the team right now?

Yeah, a few. Brent [Wilkerson], Richy [Anderson], Jordan, and others I just know of, don't really know them.

Is there anyone on the team you're especially excited to meet? Anyone you're hoping to learn from the most?

Really excited to meet the front 5, it's always important to establish a great relationship with those who are protecting you. I'm hoping to learn from coach London, seeing how he can improve my game and make me better.

Has the staff told you if you're going to get a chance to play anywhere else aside from running back?

Other than motioning out of the backfield, getting some slot action, no. But I hope to get some punt return and kick return action too!

How do you feel about the possibility of playing Ireland?

Feels great that we get the chance to travel, explore new places, and play a sport we love all in one!

When I remarked that it sounds amazing, and have never been, Mark said that I, "should come up there to the game!" If only, Mark. If only.

What are you most looking forward to about PSU? In a football sense and a non-football sense?

Football sense: I'm looking forward to forming a new brotherhood and making new friends

Non-football sense: I'm looking forward to just getting a great education from such a great school

How did you feel about the whole recruiting process? Did you like getting all that attention from coaches/reporters/etc., or did it start to get a little old after a while?

Great experience, being the first one to commit out of the 2014 class there was a lot of attention in the atmosphere. I loved it. I'm a spot light type of guy, that's why haha.

What's your favorite part of planning running back?

I like a challenge, and in my opinion running back is the most difficult position on the field. You not only have to run, but block, catch, and if any trick plays come along, you have to throw too.

This intrigued me, so I asked if he ran a lot of trick plays in high school, and Mark gave me quite possibly the greatest response ever with, "No I wish. My coaches sleeping on my arm. They don't know I could be Tom Brady if I was 6'3" lol." I told him he should let coaches O'Brien and Fisher know, because if anyone know Brady, it's Bill. He said, "One day at practice I'm just going to throw the ball 60 yards with ease and they going to be amazed." Naturally I took this as a promise that I will one day see Mark throwing a halfback pass deep down the sidelines to De'Andrew Thompkins or Chris Godwin. He told me, "Stay tuned! You going to see it!"

Try to answer this without any bias towards PSU. What uniforms do you like better? Flashy ones like Oregon, or traditional ones like PSU?

The jerseys don't make the team. But sheeesh it gets no better than Oregon's uniforms!

I agree with Mark 100% on this. I love Penn State's uniforms, don't get me wrong. But I love things that are out there, exciting, and interesting (Just ask any of my friends or past roommates, whom I'm sure will comment on this). I love neon, and bright exciting colors, and I actually liked the Maryland uniforms as well. Mark disagreed though, stating that he is, "...a Nike type of guy. So the Maryland uniforms don't really attract me!" You picked the right school then, Mark.

Mark is planning to make a trip up to State College in October for the Michigan game, so if you happen to see him, say hello! Thanks, Mark!


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