MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two months after saying he dreamed of playing in the SEC, defensive lineman Tyrese Allen warmed to the prospect of a college career in the Big 12.
Allen, a three-star prospect from Paintsville, Ky., became West Virginia’s second 2018 commitment thanks to the recruiting foundation laid by Mountaineers assistant Bruce Tall.
The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Allen announced the decision at his high school — where the enrollment is about 240 students — choosing WVU over Purdue, Cincinnati, Memphis and Western Kentucky.
“I love it at WVU,” Allen told Rivals writer Keenan Cummings. “I love idea of playing in the Big 12. West Virginia football fans are like University of Kentucky basketball fans. I will get the chance to play against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas on national TV.”
Allen told a local radio show that his commitment was firm and he planned to focus on his senior season.
“It’s 100 percent right there, it’s a done deal,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of coaches ask me after this, ‘Are you done with it?’ Yeah, I think I’m done with it.”
In February, with Kentucky coaches showing interest, Allen told the Lexington Herald-Leader:
“A UK offer would mean a lot to me. I’ve always told my mom, since I was 2 years old, ‘I want to play in the SEC.’ It’s two hours away from home. (But) the top thing is power-five football — I can’t go wrong there.”
Paintsville High assistant coach Jason Kinner said Kentucky, Notre Dame and Michigan State have inquired about Allen, whose athleticism allowed him to play running back and tight end last season.
He made 65 tackles, forced four fumbles and scored three offensive touchdowns as Paintsville finished 13-1 last season, losing in the Class 1A state semifinals.