By GREG MENGELT
When opposing football coaches talk about Jeffersonville all-state tight end, the most common words to describe the 6-foot-4, 268-pounder are “beast” and “monster.”
Allen’s junior season concluded after Friday’s 50-29 loss to Castle in the Class 5A Sectional 8 championship game. Allen caught 43 passes for 719 yards and scored nine times. He also rushed for 381 yards and six scores. He was seventh on the Devils defense with 36 total tackles and added 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries, two passes broken up and a fumble recovery for a Jeff team that went 9-3 on the field.
“Dionte Allen is a special athlete,” Jeff coach Lonnie Oldham said. “You don’t get many Dionte Allens. He’s a special kid. He’s unselfish. As a player and as a person, he’s just a great kid.”
Following Friday’s loss, Allen fielded some questions from News and Tribune sports editor Greg Mengelt about Jeff’s 2012 season, what to expect next year on the gridiron, the upcoming basketball season and his potential college and NFL careers.
QUESTION: You were right there with Castle. Through the first half, you were at least even. What do you think was the difference in the second half?
ALLEN: “We kind of fell off a little. The defense was strong but we had a few slip ups. In a game like this, against a team like [Castle], you can’t afford any slip ups.”
Q: A couple of years ago as a freshman, you won one game. Last year, you won five. How do you feel about the direction of the Jeffersonville football program?
ALLEN: “It’s been going up ever since I was a freshman. When I was a freshman, you really didn’t want to walk the halls as a football player. Last year, I was glad to call myself a Red Devil. Now, we were in the sectional championship. You couldn’t ask for much more. I wish we could have gone farther, but Jeff football isn’t going anywhere but up.”
Q: You’re losing some key players from this team, including your quarterback, Tyler Fridley. What do you expect from your senior season?
ALLEN: “I expect to do big things, just like we did this year. Maybe even farther. I mean that. We’re going to lose a big person in our offense in Tyler Fridley. We’re going to lose a couple of receivers, but we have a lot coming back, so we’re expecting big things.”
Q: You lined up as quarterback for one play on Friday and you scored. With Fridley gone, are you expecting to be the full-time quarterback next year?
ALLEN: “I don’t know what’s going to go down with that. We may throw a little of that in and mix things up. You know how Oldham is.”
Q: Man, you were hitting [on Friday]. Is that part of the game of football that you love?
ALLEN: “It’s always been a part of the game I’ve liked. If you don’t like to hit in football, you’re in the wrong sport. It’s a Neanderthal sport and I’ve loved it ever since I’ve been playing the sport. I was out there trying to knock some heads off and do whatever I can for my team. I was everywhere tonight, trying to do whatever I could to help — stripping the ball, slamming people — whatever it took.”
Q: Let’s turn our attention to basketball. When will you start practicing?
ALLEN: “I’ll probably take a little time off, heal some wounds. After a while, I’ll gradually get into it. Soon. Very soon.”
Q: What are your expectations for the basketball season?
ALLEN: “I think we’re going to be good. We have a whole bunch of people coming back. Of course, Darryl Baker, me down low, Drew Ellis on the wing, a lot of other good guys. We have a couple key components missing, but we should be fine.”
Q: Are you hearing from colleges for football?
ALLEN: “Yeah, of course.”
Q: From where?
ALLEN: “From all around the country. At the end of the season last year, I heard from UCLA. I’ve gotten stuff from Louisville. I’ve gotten stuff from Indiana. I’m getting stuff from people like Michigan State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Iowa.”
Q: Any visits yet?
ALLEN: “I’ve gone to Louisville a couple of times, but nothing official. I’ve had some free invites from Iowa, Nebraska, MIchigan State, everywhere, but Louisville’s close. Things for me haven’t really gotten started. It will soon.”
Q: If you had your choice to play anywhere in the country — and you may — where would you want to play?
ALLEN: “I’m an Alabama fan. I’ve been a Roll Tide fan for a minute now.”
Q: War Eagle!
ALLEN: [Laughing] “You may find yourself down the steps these steps in a second. I would love to play at Alabama, but I would love to play at a lot of the schools I’ve gotten looks from. The strongest would have to be UCLA and Iowa. I like those two schools.”
Q: I’ve covered some great players in high school, like Anthony Spencer of the Cowboys and Bernard Pollard of the Ravens. You remind me of them. Is playing in the NFL something you believe you can do?
ALLEN: “Of course. I believe I’m going to go far. Football’s the only thing I’ve grown up to know. A lot of guys say, ‘Well, maybe after [high school and college] football I’m going to go get a job, a regular 9 to 5. After college, that’s what I plan to do until I get older.”