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April 13, 2006

The Allen breakdown

Tray Allen, one of the nation's top offensive lineman, is about to add star-quality to one team's commitment list Thursday.

The pre-evaluation Rivals100 member Allen will announce where he'll be heading for college at 1:45 p.m. EDT today at his high school field house. With stacks of scholarship offers in his possession, there are plenty of options for the 6-foot-4, 305-pounder to choose from.

Allen told Rivals.com this week that Texas remains his leader. Other teams that have been talked about by the talented Lone Star prospect include Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M among others.

The Longhorns gave Allen his offer during the very successful junior day that netted UT five offensive line commitments in a span of 24 hours. At that point, it appeared that a decision would be a ways off in the distance. He was "honored" to have his Texas offer, but wanted to take some official visits first. Allen's ability to be a very physical guard or even a shorter tackle for Texas intrigued him, but he had always talked about seeing as many schools as possible before deciding. Coming in with a top offensive line class also made Austin a likely destination. After the spring game visit things changed and Allen remained firm about the fact that the Longhorns were in the lead. His relationship with recruiter Mac McWhorter also had a big effect on him ever since the junior day and throughout the early months of spring. Having a player like early UT commit John Chiles trying to persuade Allen to Texas certainly doesn't hurt the chances for the Horns either.

The first team to offer Allen was Texas A&M. There was a lot of speculation that they were going to be tough to beat early on. Plus, it was obvious early to Allen that he was a top priority for the Aggies. Being an in-state program not too far from home also has always been a big plus for the North Texas lineman. When his A&M offer came, his teammate Malcolm Williams was committed to the Aggies at that time and had good things to say about the program. Allen said that the coaching staff made him feel at home and that he had a lot of bonds to Metroplex players who had taken their college days to College Station. Allen has been on campus for a summer camp before his junior year and to the Aggies home game verus Texas this past fall. However, he did not visit the Aggies during the spring months.

Farrell's Forecast
The announcement of Grand Prairie (Texas) South Grand Prairie offensive guard Tray Allen shouldn't be too suspenseful despite the hopes of fans of Texas A&M, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. While Allen has been impressed with the Aggies and the Cowboys of late and has a great respect for OU, USC and Notre Dame, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Rivals100 member will almost certainly announce for the Texas Longhorns on Thursday.

In fact, the only reason Allen hasn't already committed to the Longhorns is his mother's wish that he take his time and think about his choice. He was ready to pull the trigger at the Longhorn's Spring Game and will make it public on Thursday. By adding Allen, the Longhorns have secured four of the elite players in state (Allen, Curtis Brown, John Chiles and Andre Jones) with more certainly to come.

Forecast: Texas
Confidence Level: High
-- Rivals.com National Analyst Mike Farrell

Notre Dame was another school that was very serious about their recruitment of the talented Texan. Head coach Charlie Weis was the first person he called to find out about his offer from the Irish. Weis told Allen that he was looking for the best in Texas and that he was one that fit the bill. Allen's academic priorities had him looking very heavily at the Irish, but the distance from home is a factor for both him and his family.

Allen has a connection with Oklahoma State considering his former high school teammate and 2006 Cowboy signee Deron Fontenot will be headed there this fall. He took the trip with Fotenot to their junior day in early March. Allen described OSU coach Curtis Luper as not just a person recruiting him, but a guy that he'd like to have a relationship long after football. He mentioned that the Oklahoma team was a school in his thoughts and after that trip, things were even in his mind regarding favorites.

Southern Cal, who frequented Texas recruiting last year picking up prospects such as Emmanuel Moody and Michael Morgan, was another team that got involved with Allen. Recruiter Ken Norton Jr. had sent several hand-written letters to his home and an offer followed shortly there after. Like Notre Dame, the distance from home is a factor for Allen regarding USC. His desire to play early also may be a weigh in considering the strong depth chart that the Trojans always have at almost every position.

In the end, Allen has been very forthcoming with the fact that his top team going into decision day is Texas. However, with Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and other teams having been in his mind for a long part of the process, will Allen pull a surprise or take his college playing days to Austin? Stay on Rivals.com to find out.

Tune in to RivalsRadio for a Commitment Special at 1:15 p.m. EDT featuring Rivals.com analysis and a live audio webcast of the Allen press conference. Following the announcement, stay tuned for a live interview with Allen and more analysis.



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