Notre Dame football recruiting: Irish in hunt for elite quarterback

TYLER JAMES - <a href="http:

ADDISON, Ill. -- Kyle Allen had a busy week.

Scholarships offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State and Fresno Statestarted the week. Then an invite to a national quarterback competitionand a visit to Wisconsin ended the week.

But before Allen returned home to Scottsdale, Ariz., the juniorquarterback from Desert Mountain High stayed in the Chicago area onSunday to compete and learn at the Nike Football Training Camp atAddison (Ill.) Trail High.

Allen arrived in Chicago on Friday for the Elite 11 regionalquarterback competition and received an invite to the nationalcompetition from camp coach Trent Dilfer. Staying an extra day in thearea after making a visit to Wisconsin on Saturday allowed him to takemore instruction from Dilfer at the Nike camp.

"It says a lot about him," Dilfer said about Allen returning forSunday's camp. "The kid loves to compete. He competes the right way.He competes within. It's not only about what everybody else is doing,he's trying to get better each opportunity. He's embraced theprocess."

Dilfer was talking about the Elite 11 process, which will crown thenation's top quarterback at The Opening in early July, but Allen isalso in the middle of a recruiting process that's continuing to evolveas well. The Irish and Buckeyes are the latest big-time programs tooffer the 6-foot-3, 195-pound pro-style quarterback, but are almost ayear behind schools like UCLA, Oklahoma State, Arizona and ArizonaState.

That won't harm them in the decision process though.

"It's just these teams wanted to see me develop," Allen said. "That'swhat coach (Urban) Meyer said from Ohio State. He said (offensivecoordinator and quarterbacks) coach (Tom) Herman saw me in the springlast year, loved what he saw, but I'm not a college quarterback yet.So he wanted to see me develop. I could develop into nothing and bethe same thing as last year. He wanted me to develop. I respect himfor that."

As for Notre Dame, its need for a quarterback in the 2014 classchanged when freshman Gunner Kiel left the program for Cincinnati. OnApril 29, Allen became the first quarterback offered by the Irishsince Kiel's departure. Offensive coordinator Chuck Martin and tightends coach Scott Booker watched Allen in spring practice at his schoolbefore delivering the news later. He's just now getting to know theIrish coaching staff better.

"We stayed in touch for probably a couple weeks before they offeredbecause they just had that kid that transferred," Allen said. "Theyjust wanted to start recruiting, talked to me and loved what they saw.I talked to them on the phone for about 30 minutes. Then theyoffered."

Allen's considering a summertime decision, but thinks that he'll haveenough time to consider the likes of Notre Dame and Ohio State beforethen. If not, he said, he won't be ready to make a decision. He'sworking to schedule visits to both schools with the first week in Juneemerging as a possibility for a trip to Notre Dame.

He's already familiarizing himself with Notre Dame's offense to see ifit fits him.

"They spread it out with a lot of different formations. But they runthe same kind of concepts out of all the different formations," Allensaid. "They just switch it up and that's what we kind of do at ourhigh school. I talked to coach Martin about that for a while and wereally connected on that kind of thing."

Allen, who's more of a pocket passer, knows he doesn't have the sameskillset as Notre Dame's starting quarterback Everett Golson andfreshman heir apparent Malik Zaire, but believes its offense canutilize a pro-style quarterback just as well.

"The thing I've heard from most coaches is they're not recruiting aquarterback for a specific system," Allen said. "They're recruiting aquarterback that they can adapt their system around and win gamesaround."

After two days of working with Allen, Dilfer saw a quarterback thatcan deliver the ball on virtually any route.

"He throws them all well," Dilfer said. "And if it's something hehasn't done before, he'll take the coaching, he'll conceptualize itand he'll execute the next time."

On Sunday, Allen threw a wide range of passes -- from out routes andcurls to fades and posts -- on a windy day that had Dilfer almost giddyat times. Reactions from the quarterback with a Super Bowl win on hisresume included "That's and NFL throw, Kyle," and "No defense for aperfect throw. There isn't one. They never created one."

Allen has a college decision and the Elite 11 finals still ahead ofhim, but Dilfer said he's one of the best quarterbacks he's seen inthe last few years this early in the process.

"He's so complete," Dilfer said. "Every rep he takes, you feel thathe's invested in the process. He has the unique giftedness to be ableto pass the ball. He has a lot of different throws. He has a greatsense of timing. He's going to be a spectacular college quarterback."

Dilfer-ND connection

Trent Dilfer had a day to kill between Friday's Elite 11 camp andSunday's Nike Football Training Camp, so he went to Notre Dame for theday.

Dilfer will likely become a frequent visitor to South Bend in thecoming years. His oldest daughter, Maddie, is high school juniorverbally committed to play volleyball for the Irish.

While on campus Saturday, Dilfer met up with former Elite 11 finalistMalik Zaire, a freshman quarterback for the Irish.

"Malik's a great kid," Dilfer said. "One of my favorite kids I've evercoached. He has a really bright future at Notre Dame."

Staff writer Tyler James:

Kyle Allen