Thomas Allen, son of new defensive coordinator, picks IU #iufb

A career in college football has carried Tom Allen and his family from Indiana to places across the country.

Iowa, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida are among the states the Allens have called home. Now, back on Hoosier soil as IU’s defensive coordinator, Allen is bringing his son with him.

Thomas Allen, a 6-foor-3, 235-pound linebacker, gave a verbal commitment to his father and Indiana on Wednesday, ensuring the family stays together with its latest move.

“I talked to my coach, I talked to my mom and my dad about where would be the best spot for me,” Thomas Allen said. “At the end of the day, it was Indiana. It’s the Big Ten, it’s where I’m from, it’s where all my family is and to get to play for my dad is such a great opportunity. I couldn’t pass it up.”

Allen grew up with the game while his father was coaching at Ben Davis — first as a defensive assistant, then as head coach — from 1998-2006. His father’s jump to the college game started a whirlwind tour of the country. Allen played his freshman and sophomore seasons in Mississippi while his father coached linebackers at Ole Miss, before jumping to Plant High School in Tampa for his junior season.

Allen said he’ll remain at Plant for his senior season, with plans to head north shortly after football is complete. With the rest of his family set to resettle in Bloomington this summer, Allen will live with his grandparents in Tampa during the season.

“I’m gonna graduate early so it works out,” Allen said. “I’m captain here at my high school. It all just worked out where I’m going to be able to stay here.”

A two-star recruit in the 247 Sports Composite, Allen also considered offers from Rutgers, Colorado State and South Alabama.

But the pull of family and the overall fit at Indiana were tough to ignore.

“I’ve seen how (my father) pulls greatness out of his guys,” Allen said. “He’s an intense guy, and I would love to play for a man like that. I’ve grown up around football since I was real little. He’s taught me everything. Everything I know about football comes through him. It’s been awesome to go through this whole process.”

Allen gives Indiana its fourth commitment for 2017, and its third on the defensive side of the ball. Allen joins Avon linebacker Bryant Fitzgerald, Carmel defensive end Britt Beery and Florida offensive tackle Tyler Knight.


  1. I like it. Coaches kids tend to fundamentally more sound than the average. While I realize that was a highlight reel unless he’s been in high school for 8 or 9 years that’s a ton of big plays. He’s making good reads quickly. He also looks like a kid that can add a ton of muscle. He still pretty young.

    I think he stands a good chance of being a quality college player.

  2. I love his size, especially for his age. He may be bigger right now than most of the linebackers IU has had in the last five years. If not, he certainly will be by the time he arrives on campus. Football in Florida is as competitive as it gets, so that’s in his favor. And you know he’s been coached very well. Looks good on tape, but don’t they all. Should be interesting to see how his body develops in the next 15 months. Will he get any taller? If he’s 235 now, what will he weigh when he arrives in Bloomington? I wonder what his star rating would be if he had gone to High School in Indiana?

  3. Not exactly explosive (that’s probably why he’s only a 2 star) but seems to make the right read quickly. He has really good size. You have to love that he’s the Coach’s son. This is the kind of kid Iowa always seems to find and turn into really productive players. You know he will make the right calls to get the defense in proper alignment. Seems like a really quality pick up.

  4. Given his size, he should be a good run stopper. If he can cover a tight end on a shallow crossing patterns, he’ll do very well. I’d rather have a linebacker that runs a 4.9/40 but can shed blockers and tackle than a guy who runs a 4.5/40 but can’t get anyone on the ground. Scooby Wright was never going to win a footrace with any tailbacks, but he was one of the best college linebackers in the country while at Arizona because he anticipated, shed blockers and tackled very well. And Scooby was a lightly recruited 2-star linebacker coming out of High School who started 12 out of 13 games during his freshman year at AZ and received HM All Pac-12 honors. After his sophomore year, he was the first sophomore to ever be recognized as the PAC-12’s Defensive Player of the Year. He spent four years at Arizona shoving that 2-star rating down the throats of opposing players.

  5. A lot of ‘explosiveness’ can be addressed in the weight room. Take a look at modern sprinters and the muscle they carry. Same for 15 yard sprints to cover the flat.

    This is hopefully the kind of diamond in the rough that we all know Indiana has to find.

  6. Hope you’re right Chet and Podunker. My comment was meant for the fact what a shock he committed to Indiana alongside his father. What a great opprutunity and privilege to play alongside your father.

  7. Solid recruit and good deal with dad being defensive coach for IU and Thomas. Though a 2 star nothing and spectacular just a player who can grow and learn system. Contributions will come as he ages in system and will be good enough to get playing time at IU. What started as strong the class of 2017 fb recruits is another typical IU challenge. The earlier stronger commits (I understand that commits are non binding) somewhat quickly backed out and dashed what I thought could have been the start of a strong 2017 class. Now, it is back down to earth wait and see what kind of class IU FB will have for 2017.

  8. It is always a bonus to have a coach’s kid playing as they seem to understand the game better. I never worry about the stars players have because recruiting services have limited resources. Players that have moved around get hurt when it comes to getting rated. Right now I am trying to get IU onto a quality OL player whose dad is in the Army. Despite being a outstanding freshman at 6-6 285 who can easily dunk a basketball he has no rating yet. They have not been back in the country until the last two years so he is under the radar so far.

    Allen looks to be a good pick up at LB and I hope he develop into one of those players everyone wonders where he came from.

  9. I did a little checking and this kid has been playing at a very high level. His high school competes in 7A (out of 8) and they’ve tallied 4 Florida state championships. This past season they won their district despite losing their starting QB (a Syracuse signee and the son of a former NFL QB) to an ACL tear 3 weeks before the season. They played the entire season rotating quarterbacks. The team won because of their defense. The team has several D1 commits.

    Sounds like a keeper.

  10. I played for my Dad for two years in Junior HS and I worked for him part time until I graduated from college. As a coach and as an employer, he was much tougher on me than he was other players/employees. When I made a mistake, my punishment was always a bit more severe. For example, in football, when I screwed up in practice and was told to run laps, it was always more laps than the other kids had to run. On the job, he held everyone to very high standards, but I always got the crappiest jobs that no one else wanted to do. It was obvious that he never wanted any of my teammates or co-workers to think that I was getting favorable treatment. Looking back, I see how playing and working for him benefitted me, but at the time, it was never a picnic. Playing for one’s father is not for every father/son relationship, but at least the kid knows that he can trust his coach, and that’s a huge factor in progressing to one’s potential. I hope this one works out well for both these men.

  11. I never had a problem playing for my father. I knew what was expected and was treated as an equal. He enjoyed it and never moaned and groaned.

  12. 123, Looking at his highlight tape he reminds of just how you describe him. I think Iowa and Wisconsin do a great job with this kind of player and I hope IU now develops defensive players to play much better than they did in high school. Seeing the job AJ Watt has done I wonder why more TEs aren’t converted to defensive players. Watt isn’t the only example of TEs playing on the DL but he is the obvious example.

    It will be interesting to see how big Thomas will get and what position he will end up playing at IU. He looks like he could be an ILB for a 4-2-5 defense but he may grow out of that position. IU needs to get a couple of really good LBs in the 2017 class as they will be graduating several this next year.

    T, the 2016 season will determine how good a class IU gets for 2017. Things are in place for getting highly rated players it just requires the team to start winning B1G games instead of playing teams tough. Every downtrodden program needs a year like the team had last year but it needs to be a springboard to a much better year this season. Top players want to go where they can play for championships or at least challenge for a championship. Doing that in the B1G isn’t easy but MSU had declined and many thought they wouldn’t get back to championship level. Northwestern was as low as a program could be yet got their program going by winning games that attract recruits. I hope 2015 was the beginning of IUFB’s move to being a competitor for better bowl games and championships in the near future.

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