Last week, 4-star safety Antonio Allen (Indianapolis, Ind.) decommitted from Ole Miss so that he could play college football somewhere his family would be able to attend his games, which is the main reason why the Ben Davis High School standout verbally committed to play for the Indiana Hoosiers on Thursday afternoon.
"My decision I made, it had nothing to do with Ole Miss. It had everything to do with my family," Allen told Josh Helmholdt of Rivals.com shortly after he made his commitment. "People from Indianapolis, they already know me. I feel at Indiana I will have more people cheering me on and most of my family can come to the games."
Although the main factor in Allen's decision was a chance to play in front of his family and friends, the nation's No. 200 overall prospect and No. 17 ranked safety also felt a connection with Indiana head coach Kevin Smith.
"Coach Wilson told me the truth and came from the heart," Allen said. "He said they needed help and I could possibly go there and start right away. But I'm not going to take that to the head. I'm still going to work hard for my position."
Allen, who is the No. 4 recruit in the state of Indiana, says he will now try to lure other top prospects to Bloomington.
Ben Davis football head coach Mike Kirschner spoke to Matt Weaver of Peegs.com Thursday afternoon as well and believes Allen will make an immediate impact for the Hoosiers.
"I think it is a good fit," Kirschner said. "I think he is going to get the education he wants to study business. I know Kevin Wilson is trying to change the mentality down there and what I think [Antonio] brings to them is a physical mentality.
Will Antonio Allen sign with the Indiana Hoosiers in February?
"He's not going to be their 6-foot, cover corner, but as Kirk Ferentz said, he is Bob Sanders - he can cover people when he has to and can knock you out when he has to. I just think he brings a physical mentality to IU that they haven't had the past couple of years."
The 5'11", 194-pounder is one of the most highly-ranked prospects to commit to Indiana, but Hoosier fans will have to cross their fingers and hope Allen does not opt to find greener pastures over the next several months like class of 2012 5-star prospect Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.) did when he flipped from Indiana to LSU last winter before eventually enrolling at Notre Dame in February.
In Allen's case, though, it appears Hoosier fans have nothing to worry about unless Notre Dame comes into the picture.
Allen is the seventh verbal commit in Indiana's 2013 recruiting class and is the only one who has a rating of 4-stars or higher.
Zach Dirlam is the former lead editor of the college basketball section as well as Big Ten columnist for the FOX Sports/MSN/YardBarker affiliate website Sports at Work. Check out his blog, Dirlam's Dirty Dugout Sports Blog, which features this story, along with other articles and video reports on major sports.
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