Vaught's Views: No One Specific Factor Will Determine Which College Quarterback Beau Allen Will Pick
Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen doesn't want to rush his college decision but has a lot of ties to Kentucky. (Vicky Graff Photo)
His dad played quarterback at Kentucky after a record-setting high school career at Morgan County. He grew up a Kentucky fan and his former high school coach, Mark Perry, is now on Kentucky coach Mark Stoops’ staff.
Still, Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen has not let his father’s legacy or the proximity to the UK campus to overly impact his recruiting. He has offers from Michigan, West Virginia, Washington State, Georgia, Maryland, Duke and Penn State along with Kentucky and others.
The 6-2, 185-pound Lexington Catholic quarterback threw for 3,729 and 42 touchdowns during his junior season and also rushed for another 747 yards.
Allen expects to make a college choice in the next six weeks or so. He visited Washington State and then was at Kentucky last weekend. He expects to go to West Virginia where former UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown is the new head coach.
“I could decide earlier, but I don’t want to rush anything,” said Allen. “If I set a specific date, I might feel some pressure just to decide.”
It was only a few months ago that his friend, Western Hills standout Wandale Robinson, set a recruiting date and announced for Kentucky. A few days later he switched his commitment to Nebraska.
Allen and Robinson had openly talked about playing together in college before Robinson eventually signed with Nebraska and will be a freshman this season.
“It was tough on him. I know how your mind feels some days about what you want to do and then the next day it can change,” Allen said. “It’s just something you really have to think about. I’m just going to go with the flow when the right time comes.”
He says there is not one specific factor that will separate one team from the others for him.
“I am looking for where I will have the most fun and get along with the staff the best,” Allen said. “It’s just where I feel I best fit and there’s really not one specific thing to determine that.”
His father, Bill, threw for 6,440 yards and 42 touchdowns at Morgan County at a time when those were gaudy career numbers. He opted to sign with UK and coach Jerry Claiborne, a coach who preferred a running game, and played only sparingly at UK. Beau Allen’s uncles, Hanky and Perry Allen, were also both prolific passers at Morgan County.
Perry, a former UK quarterback, left Lexington Catholic to become Brown’s director of football administration at Troy after Allen’s sophomore season. He moved with Brown to West Virginia before Stoops gave him a chance to return to Lexington as an offensive analyst.
“Coach Perry is good to talk with about everything in recruiting,” Allen said. “I have been in contact with him. We talked often when he was at Troy and then West Virginia and now Kentucky.”
Allen admits he has a “good bond” with Stoops and his staff.
“ have also grown up a Kentucky fan and followed the program for a long time,” Allen said. “I get a lot of encouragement from fans to say yes to Kentucky but it is not pressure. They are all good people and I appreciate that they care. It means a lot to me that they want me to go to Kentucky.”
Allen knows he could become the “face” of UK’s 2020 recruiting class if he committed early. He’s rated as one of the top 10 players in Kentucky and a quarterback commitment always carries extra weight.
“I will welcome that opportunity for any school,” he said. “I look forward to being a really strong recruiter and promoter of a great program that I pick. I do talk a little bit now to different players to see what they are thinking.”
He’s not sure what he’ll do about attending camps this summer after he makes his college choice. He knows it could be “fun to be a recruiter” for the school he picks during summer camps but also admits his competitive nature would make him still want to do well in any camp he attended.
“I don’t think there is ever a time not to compete as hard as you can and show all you have got,” he said.
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Rivals.com recruiting analyst Krysten Peek believes signee Tyrese Maxey has the perfect personality to be a UK basketball player.
“He is so positive and has such a great attitude all the time,” Peek said. “I knew him back when he was in braces (on his teeth). He loves having fun on the court and that should really transition well to Kentucky. BBN will love him and he will love them back.
“He is very comfortable in pressure situations whether it is playing in a big AAU or USA Basketball game or playing in front of NBA scouts. I love his game and love his personality.”
Maxey is a scoring point guard but also has shown Peek and others he can play defense at a high level.
“He has had to defend top players on the Nike EYBL and played in a very competitive high school league. He takes no plays off. He loves to play defense and is an elite defender,” she said. “One thing all players struggle with it in college is the pace of the game. I don’t see him having that problem.”
What about Kahlil Whitney, another future Cat?
“He is so powerful for a wing player. All-star games are really not his best setting because it’s tough for a player who plays like he does to get touches and get in rhythm in all-star games,” she said. “But don’t doubt that he can play.
“His outside shot is still developing. His release has got to get quicker. But if he knocks down shots, his first step in incredible and really hard to stop.”
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Benny Snell broke or tied 14 UK records and became the school’s all-time leader rusher (3,873 yards) as well as the all-time leader in touchdowns (48), rushing touchdowns (48) and 100-yard rushing games (19) during his three seasons at UK before opting to put his name into the NFL draft.
He was the first UK player ever to have three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing in 2018 with 1,449 yards after being considered a “mid-level” recruit coming out of high school. Yet he’s now the 12th all-time leading rusher in SEC history and trails only Herschel Walker (49) for most rushing touchdowns prior to his senior season in SEC history.
However, rather than look at what he did three years against Southeastern Conference defenses, most NFL teams focused on what Snell did at the NFL combine where they didn’t think he was quite fast enough or strong enough to be a big-time pro player. Pittsburgh took a different approach and drafted Snell in the fourth round with the 122nd overall pick.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said they did not “over analyze” Snell, the only SEC player other than Herschel Walker to rush for at least 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in their first three seasons.
“We just really liked Benny Snell. He is a good football player who we thought was a central figure in a culture change there at Kentucky,” Tomlin said. “That guy had those guys extremely competitive and they kicked a lot of butt in the SEC.
“Everyone you talked down there formally and informally talked about him being an energy bringer, a catalyst He is the type of guy that is capable of changing a culture and we were really attracted to that along with his run talents. We’re glad to have him.”
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Kentucky signee Dontaie Allen of Pendleton County continues to rehab from knee surgery required after he tore his ACL in late December — he still was named Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball — and from a single car accident April 3 when he broke his collarbone and needed surgery.
He was told by doctors that the collarbone rehab would be six weeks. However, he’s still been going to Lexington three times a week for rehab on his knee and then working out on his own in the Pendleton gym and fitness center.
“He was very lucky the accident was not worse,” former Pendleton County head coach Keaton Belcher, who took the head job at Ryle after the season ended, said. “All things considered, he’s been surprisingly fine.”
Allen said in mid-March at the Mr. Basketball awards ceremony that he did not plan to redshirt at UK before he broke his collarbone.
“As far as I know, they (UK) are still expecting him to be in uniform next season,” Belcher said. “They have not talked about redshirting and Dontaie is expecting to play.”
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Zion Harmon still has a lot of lofty goals for himself and plans to spend the next two seasons playing at Marshall County High School. The point guard helped Bowling Green win the 2017 state title and then led the state in scoring the next year as a freshman at Adair County after transferring.
He transferred to Marshall for his junior season but was ruled ineligible by the Kentucky High School Athletic Associated and eventually played on weekends for Bella Vista Prep, a private school in Arizona. He kept attending classes at Marshall County and got permission from the KHSAA to do so without jeopardizing his eligibility for his junior and senior seasons. Bella Vista won the Grind Session World’s Championship, which was played at Marshall County.
Harmon, one of the top rated point guards nationally in the 2021 recruiting class, has not changed his goal for playing at Marshall.
“We will definitely bring a state title to Marshall County,” Mike Harmon, Zion’s father said.
“I still want him to have chance to go after scoring records and win Mr. Basketball in Kentucky as a senior. Want him to have a chance to be a McDonald’s All-American.
“All God wants him to have, we want him to have. It’s not all about basketball, but he works and has goals like winning a state title, being Mr. Basketball.”
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Senior Alex Hyland became only the second Kentucky gymnast to make four straight NCAA championship appearances and earned second team All-America honors this season with her 15th-place showing in the all-around competition. She was also the SEC Gymnastics Scholar Athlete of the Year as a senior thanks to her 3.944 overall grade-point average.
She finished her senior season ranked as the nation’s 17th-best all-around gymnast, ranking No. 44 on the vault, No. 62 on the bars, No. 23 on the beam, and No. 64 on the floor.
After her final meet, she posted an emotional farewell on social media that I thought was certainly worth sharing.
“Gymnastics, thank you for letting me chase my dream. You never told me it was going to be easy, but you made it worth it. You pushed me. You challenged me. You made me sweat, and you made me cry. But most of all, you made smile. You gave me 16 of the best years of my life and I will miss you so much.
“To my mom: I can’t express in words how much I appreciate you and everything you do. My mom never missed one meet in my 16 years of gymnastics ... January through April every single weekend she took flights and made 15 hour+ drives just to see me compete and never missed a moment. She showed up exactly when warm up started and she had to deal with stressed out me on meet days maybe not being so nice to her, so thank you mom I love you so much
“To my coaches and UK staff: Thank you for pushing me to be my best every single day. You all made me a better person and I’m so thankful for each and every one of you. Kentucky truly changed my life.”
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Quote of the Week: “We expect him to be able to be on the edge no matter what you line up with,” Jacksonville executive vice president Tom Coughlin on Josh Allen after the Jags picked him No. 7 in the NFL draft.
Quote of the Week 2: “You know he’s going to be hard to replace, but I’m going to go out there and do me. I’m going to try to bring as much to the table as I can and you know, hopefully break his record,” Kentucky running back A.J. Rose on following Benny Snell’s record-breaking career at UK.
Quote of the Week 3: “What I loved about him this year is he did go up and down like a rookie should. But he never stayed down. So that's the growth. The mental focus stuff, he'll tell you, like, he's got a long way to go there. But the talent and just the straight-up play, he's going to be an amazing player. And he wants to. He's coachable. Works hard, low maintenance. Hope that continues,” Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers on former UK star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s rookie season.