Beau Allen: My recruiting experience

With National Signing Day upon us, former Wisconsin Badgers DT Beau Allen recounts his recruiting experience, including his biggest regret and what it took for him to stop feeling like "the man."

Beau Allen took three official visits when he was in high school - to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Notre Dame.

Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports

 

(Note: Beau Allen is describing his preparation for the NFL for FOX Sports Wisconsin, but with signing day here, he takes a brief time out from that to describe his recruiting process back in 2009.)

I do have one regret -- and that's that I didn't commit to Wisconsin sooner. I didn't commit until like mid-December and I kind of wish I would have pulled the trigger faster because recruiting can be a pain in the butt for a high school senior, an 18-year-old kid, to deal with. Getting pulled in so many directions by so many different coaches and fans. I feel bad for some of the kids that went through it.

But I'm so happy I ended up at Wisconsin. I wouldn't have done anything differently. Some people have regrets, they wish they'd have gone to this school or that school. I was fortunate enough I had none of those issues.

I took official visits to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

Recruiting has evolved so much even in the past four years. For example, with Twitter now. When I was in high school they had just passed a rule where college coaches couldn't contact a player on Twitter (and to be honest, I don't even know if that's legal now).

But the way an official visit works, it means the university can pay for you to come down for a weekend and go to a game. They have a program where they run you through the facilities, you talk to all the academic people, they show you the weight room and talk to the weight room staff, and obviously talk to the coaches. It is just a way for the university to display to you everything they have to you and whoever you bring on the visit. You also have a host, which is a player on the football team, who you hang out with for the night and get to know him and other guys on the team.

When I took my official to Wisconsin, my host one night was Pat Muldoon, who is a really good friend of mine now, so it's funny how that works out.  So it was Pat Muldoon the first night it was and the second night it was J.J. Watt.  You go out to a meal with the coaches and your hosts and maybe some other players who are on their official, too. You talk shop, talk football, get acquainted with the coaching staff, the players . . .  just get to know the program. I think it's a great tool for both the university and the student-athlete being recruited. You get five official visits, but I only took three, like I said. Some take all five, but I didn't need to.

Some people like to be recruited. It's really cool when you're an 18-year-old kid and you have all these great college football programs going after you, and getting all the mail. I definitely thought it was cool at first. I was excited by it, I thought I was the man. But it can wear you down.

It's funny how it works. At Wisconsin we always laugh  . . . I think everyone fell victim to this. You get recruited, you get told how great you are when you're a senior in high school and you get all the coaches and players telling you you're the man, so you get to think pretty highly of yourself. Then the first summer you get to campus as a freshman for workouts, you're suddenly lowest on the totem pole. It's pretty drastic how it happens.

That first day of camp all the freshman realize how inexperienced they are. I remember I was recruited heavily by Wisconsin and other schools, so I thought pretty highly of myself. And in that first camp we did what we call pods, where you just go against two o-lineman and a tight end. I was lined up as a three-tech against Kevin Zeitler and Josh Oglesby -- it was my first rep in pads in college -- and they just hit me with a power double and they just absolutely pancaked me, and I was like, wow, I am not as good as I thought I was, I have a long way to go.

I still have nightmares about pods.