November 30, 2006

Allen and VanDyke set to make the call

[rl]Hialeah (Fla.) Miami Lakes running back Armando Allen and Miami (Fla.) Pace athlete Demarcus VanDyke are both set to end the recruiting process and announce their college destinations together on Friday. However, what once looked like a Florida double dip could now turn into a split decision.

Allen, a 5-foot-9, 181-pounder with blazing speed has long been linked with the Florida Gators and has been assumed a commitment since the start. However, Notre Dame Thursday told Allen he could enroll early in South Bend, Ind., a practice that began under head coach Charlie Weis but is still reserved for only a few players each year, and everything has changed. VanDyke, a 6-foot-0, 161-pounder with similar speed, was at one point a Miami commitment but de-committed when Larry Coker was fired. He's now set to be a Gator.

The location of the press conference was originally set for Miami Lakes High School for both players but now it looks like VanDyke will announce for Florida at 8:30 a.m. EST at Pace and Allen will announce for Notre Dame at 10:00 a.m. EST at Lakes.

Allen is a multi-purpose tailback who is strong enough to run between the tackles, quick enough to get outside and has the acceleration needed to be a factor in the passing game as well. Allen broke his ankle in a pre-season scrimmage and has missed his entire senior season, but the injury isn't expected to slow him down. Allen, ranked as the No. 2 all-purpose back behind fellow Floridian Noel Devine, will enroll at Notre Dame in January and will bring much-needed speed to the backfield.

Farrell's Forecast
The reason for the different press conference locations is due to Allen's sudden change of heart regarding Notre Dame. It was clearly a big issue whether he could enroll early at ND or not and that issue has been cleared up. For Notre Dame to pull such a dynamic skill position player from Florida is huge for the Irish and Allen immediately makes them a much faster offense.

Forecast for Allen: Notre Dame

Confidence Level: High

Gator fans can't let the loss of Allen temper their excitement about VanDyke. Florida has loved this kid from the start and he has good size, amazing speed and has become a much better football player this year. His ceiling is very high and he'll only add to an already fast team.

Forecast for VanDyke: Florida

Confidence Level: High

-- National Analyst Mike Farrell

Allen is a dynamic back and will be an excellent compliment to James Aldridge who is bigger but not as explosive. Speed is a key area that Weis has wanted to improve and Allen has plenty of that. He posted a 4.31-second 40-yard dash time at NIKE between his sophomore and junior seasons.

Perhaps the only person faster than Allen in South Florida is VanDyke, who ran a flat 4.3-second 40-yard dash at NIKE as well. VanDyke was No. 1 on Florida's recruiting board at cornerback and they pursued him heavily before he committed to Miami. The Gators persistence paid off well as VanDyke will add much needed early depth to the cornerback position. With his speed he'll also be a threat on special teams as a return man.

Allen and VanDyke are friends since Pop Warner, which is why they were originally set to announce together, but once Allen decided he was headed to Notre Dame, VanDyke decided it would be best for each player to do his own presser. Charlie Weis wants to improve his team speed while Urban Meyer has said he wants to field the fastest team in the country. With Allen and VanDyke on board for each coach, their goals will be reached much faster.

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