The decision of a lifetime for Austin Allen

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The world of college football recruiting is sometimes like dominoes. Once that initial offer arrives, others can soon follow.
Such is the case for Aurora junior Austin Allen, who just a week and a half ago picked up an offer to play tight end at the University of Nebraska.
For Husky fans, that would sure be a lot of fun.
But sometimes things aren’t as easy as they seem. Sometimes what appears to be, and excuse me but no pun intended, a slam dunk, isn’t necessarily that way.
There is the academic side of things. There are the coaches. There are the facilities. And there are the intangibles.
Austin told me he received his Husker offer, of all places, riding the bus on Feb. 19.
“It caught me by surprise,” he pointed out. “We were on the bus to Holdrege and the tight ends coach (Tavita Thompson) told me to call him. Then he handed the phone over to (Danny) Langsdorf and he offered me.”
Langsdorf is the Huskers offensive coordinator and has four years experience in the NFL. I’m sure he’d relish the thought of a 6’ 9” tight end target in his system.
Austin said that as of now, he has a visit planned to Lincoln on March 12, which just happens to be the Saturday of the state boys basketball tournament. “I just got off the phone with Mike Riley 15 minutes ago. He said it doesn’t have to be March 12, that I’m just an hour away so it can be any time.”
Proximity is one huge factor in Nebraska’s favor of course. The other one is it’s Austin’s home state team.
And then throw in the fact that the Huskers won’t exactly be stacked at the tight end position following this season when Cethan Carter and Sam Cotton graduate.
As of right now, that position is pretty thin. Redshirt freshman Matt Snyder of California had some health issues and redshirted this past season. Other tight ends on the roster include junior Luke McNitt, sophomore Bryan Reimers and junior Tyler Hoppes. 2016 signees include Jack Stoll of Colorado and David Engelhaupt of Norfolk.
None of those players are anything close to a proven commodity.
Austin said he took an unofficial visit to the Lincoln campus the weekend of the Northwestern game, getting to go on the field prior to kickoff.
“It’s unreal how much stuff they have there and how much stuff they do,” he said. “Football is a big thing at Nebraska. Everyone knows that.”
Coach Thompson is in charge of Austin’s recruitment, but he told me that he has also been in conversations with the head man himself as well as Langsdorf. He said he hasn’t yet settled on what he wants to major in when he heads off to college.
Austin’s second offer to play football came a week ago this past Wednesday when none other than former Husker quarterback Scott Frost and Central Florida came into the mix. It was actually one of Frost’s assistant’s who reached out to the Aurora all-stater.
“Our guidance counselor said Central Florida called and requested my transcripts, but technically she can’t release them. They had to contact me personally. They did offer me a full-ride scholarship.
“I don’t know much about Central Florida, and I’m going to Iowa State tomorrow (this past Saturday).”
Austin told me that he’s also getting D-1 interest in basketball, including UNO and the two South Dakota schools, but that he hopes to have a decision in hand in a few months.
“I’m hoping that by this summer I’ll have a decision, after I check out some campuses. I’ll see where I stand.”
He also said that so far, his recrutinig process hasn’t affected his play on the basketball court.
“It’s just sports,” he pointed out. “You go out and compete.”
Just sports? Yes. As for the competition, I’ve got a feeling it’s going to heat up a little bit more for Austin’s final signature.
DAVE BRADLEY can be reached at

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