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First Dibs: Zach Allen Tells Fizz Syracuse’s Deciding Factor Was Being Earliest

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Syracuse commit Zach Allen tells The Fizz a key factor in his decision was SU being first to the party. This is a trend the Orange staff has tried to capitalize on, even offering two Class of ’14 quarterbacks. A few months ago, the 2-star quarterback didn’t even know where in New York Syracuse was located. Yesterday, he let Orange Nation know he wanted to be taking the reigns of the offense in a year or two.

The 6’3” QB became the second QB to commit for the class of 2013. Allen plays his ball in Texas at Temple HS, and he’s been doing it at the highest level of high school football in the Lone Star State, class 5A. Pretty good company. Nothing is holier than Texas pigskin, and Allen tells The Fizz losing eats him up.

“I’m a huge competitor. You got to hate losing more than you like winning, and that’s how I approach ever game. I tried to win at everything I do.”

He’s just the second Texas product to come to CNY in the last six years, following former Syracuse TE Charlie Copa, who transferred to Tulsa. Allen has a tremendous attitude on and off the football field, and a relentless work ethic. Once again Syracuse was early to the party, and it paid dividends. His relationship with Nate Hackett is the biggest reason why he decided to come to the Hill.

“I love [Coach Hackett]. He’s a great guy. He was the first BCS school to offer me in January. We’ve been in contact this whole time, and I’ve developed a really good relationship with him. It’s been an honor.”

For a big QB (6’3”, 185 lbs), Allen is freaky fast. He runs a 4.5 40 – dynamic speed that has allowed him to run the option spread offense at Temple. Allen piled up over 2,500 yards and 20 touchdowns through the air and on the ground last fall under first year Head Coach Mike Spradlin. The previous year, Allen ran an entirely different pro-style offense. He obviously has serious athleticism, but also good pocket presence, and very nice mechanics. A lot of this has to do with running the pro offense during his sophomore year. For Allen it really is run and gun.

He’ll also get a head start on the competition. He will be graduating from Temple in December, and plans to enroll at Syracuse in January ’13. Thanks to taking extra credits throughout his high school career and a few final classes this summer, Allen will have a leg up on incoming signal caller Austin Wilson. He’s looking forward to being a part of the squad for spring practices.

“You really have a better chance of starting and learning the offense compared to someone else who doesn’t graduate early. I know I’m going to have a great chance to get to know the system before some of the other quarterbacks do. I’m really excited about that.”

It’s likely Doug Marrone and the coaching staff gave Allen some indication about getting snaps early in his career. When I asked about playing time and what role the coaches had for him down the road, he admitted that was one of the main reasons he chose Syracuse. There is a plan for Allen. He runs the option well, and is a fast and physical runner. Could there be a Tebow-esque role his freshman year like the Gators sensation had?

We know Marrone is desperately seeking bigger impact plays on offense. How SU uses Ashton Broyld in an option set this season may shed some light on its plans with Allen. Could Allen come in to compete for the starter’s role immediately following Ryan Nassib’s graduation? There is no clear starter in ’13 (Broyld, Kinder, Hunt, Wilson). It appears he might already be a better passer than Broyld and Kinder, with much more fluid technique.

Including Allen and Wilson, Syracuse has offered 10 prospects in the class of 2013. Three have signed elsewhere, and a few reportedly have little interest in SU. But the Orange is going big after quarterbacks. Four-star Asiantii Woulard has been actively recruited by fellow Winter Park HS teammate James Washington. Don’t forget 3-star Connecticut QB Tim Boyle’s coach tells The Fizz Syracuse is a big player in the running. Could that change after the signings of Wilson and Allen? The Orange has also offered two QB’s in the class of 2014.

It could be a crowded depth chart, but you have to love SU bringing in a slew of QB’s, and aggressively going after others. The coaches are certainly crazy about Allen, and love his positive attitude and disciplined play. The feeling is mutual, as the Texas product knew from the very start that SU was the right fit.

“I’m excited. It’s a great honor to go to a school like Syracuse. I’m pumped up. I can’t wait to be a part of the Syracuse system.”

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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