The Arizona Wildcats’ recruiting class might have more steals than stars — at least that’s the hope for a class that ranks near the bottom of the Pac-12 — and quarterback Javelle Allen looks like one of the former.
Allen was rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com, putting him in the thick middle of BCS-level recruits. There was little buzz about him.
Rivals.com didn’t rank him among the Top 25 dual-threat quarterbacks. Scout.com ranked Allen 81st among all high school senior quarterbacks. The 247Sports network gave Allen two stars out of five.
The question is, why?
Was Allen just not very good … or did he just bloom as a senior after most top programs had completed their quarterback recruiting? Did he simply not get evaluated much by the recruiting services?
All of the above?
As is the case for all recruits, time will tell, but you can build an argument that Allen is better than the modest ratings.
“In regard to why he got overlooked, he didn’t have great junior numbers,” said Prosper High coach Kent Scott.
“With our offense, we were putting him in position to take advantage of the skills he’s got. We had been very multiple and got sidetracked on some triple-option stuff, some flexbone, from the Pistol. It just didn’t lend itself to throwing the football.
“He’s a great runner, but we just weren’t utilizing him the way he was capable of being used. He is truly a dual-threat quarterback.”
Allen, a left-hander who had transferred to Prosper from Humble (Texas) High before his junior season, passed for only 569 yards as a junior, never attempting more than 12 passes in a game. Although he ran for 1,094 yards, he didn’t have the profile that made the recruiting services pause for a write-up.
Between Rivals and Scout, Allen — even as he transitioned to a spread offensive to maximize his skills as a senior — was mentioned in only one story through the 2011 season. That came last summer, when Allen said he had interest from New Mexico State and Arkansas State.
Allen last season completed 138 of 224 passes for 2,347 yards, with 30 touchdowns and five interceptions. He ran for 1,539 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging 9.38 yards per carry, for a team that went 9-3. Prosper won seven of those games by at least 34 points.
“If you factor in that in half of our games he was sitting on the bench in the third or fourth quarter, that makes his numbers more impressive,” Scott said.
“If the ball was in Javelle’s hands, our guys felt like we had a chance to score from everywhere. You look at his numbers, his completion percentage, the kid makes great decisions.”
Allen is one of two quarterbacks in Arizona’s recruiting class, the other being Josh Kern from San Antonio. One of them figures to be the backup to senior Matt Scott next season.
Coach Rich Rodriguez said he thinks both quarterbacks have something of the “it” factor that is needed for a quarterback to become a leader.
Of Allen, Rodriguez said, “His coach talked glowing about how he was the guy who would take the team out there on his own in the summer for seven-on-seven, would lead the team during the season and just had everything you would want in a quarterback.”
True. Scott does say that, raving about Allen’s personality.
“He really matured over the last 12 to 16 months in how he leads. He makes the other people around him better,” Scott said.
“He goes over and works with our elementary school students, and the teachers tell me they have to peel the kids off him. The kids just idolize him. If he didn’t have two great parents, I would adopt him in a minute.”
Arizona got involved in Allen when Rodriguez brought in one of his former assistants, quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, who had been recruiting Allen to Indiana. Scott said that Indiana “kind of backed off” when Smith left, opening a door for the Wildcats.
By the time Allen emerged as a senior, many top colleges already had filled their quarterbacks slots in their recruiting classes and were evaluating juniors, further squelching any recruiting buzz around him.
“I know I’m biased because he’s my kid, but I think this is the steal of the Class of 2012,” Scott said. “He is extremely capable of playing at the level Arizona is expecting of him.”
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Here’s a random note: Allen is used to throwing to the son of a major-league centerfielder.
Torii Hunter Jr. and Darius Hunter were junior receivers last season at Prosper (and a third son of Anaheim Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, Money, plays defensive back for Prosper). At Arizona, Allen could soon be throwing to Trey Griffey, the son of Ken Griffey Jr.
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Arizona’s recruiting ranking would improve if Davonte’ Neal picks the Wildcats on Feb. 21, but, for now, UA’s class is ranked 45th nationally by Rivals.com, 46th by Scout.com and 50th by 247Sports.com. Arizona’s class is rated 11th in the Pac-12 by each recruiting service.
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Allen played on the USA 19-under team in the International Bowl on Feb. 1, throwing a touchdown pass late in the third quarter.