FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With a 3.45 grade-point average and a desire to study communications or sports management in college, University of Florida recruit Jake Allen has an extensive vocabulary.
Yet, there was one word that came up nearly a dozen times in a brief interview Sunday at Nike’s The Opening regional.
That word was “special,” and it’s his description of the type of season he expects St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) to have in 2016, and it’s also his view on the talent his Raiders have on the roster.
“I think we have a special year coming up,” said Allen, a 6-3, 205-pound rising senior who led Aquinas to a 2015 Class 7A state title and earned the lone invite to the Elite 11 from the Miami regional event. “We have definitely the best talent in the country.
“We are supposed to go to Nevada to play (Las Vegas) Bishop Gorman. That’s going to be something special.”
That game has yet to be confirmed by Aquinas or Gorman, but that could happen soon on what would be a titanic matchup on Sept. 29 in Las Vegas. Gorman has several impressive streaks going, including 39 consecutive wins, seven consecutive state titles and two No. 1 national rankings in a row by USA TODAY Sports.
Gorman quarterback Tate Martell, a Texas A&M recruit, tweeted this past winter that Aquinas was one of the five teams he wanted to play in 2016. He ended his tweet with the words: “Tell your coaches.”
That drew the ire of Aquinas’ Trevon Grimes, who is the No. 1 receiver in the nation, according to Rivals.com.
Grimes’ tweet: “No! Tell YOUR coaches to call. South Florida football is something you don’t want to call out.”
Grimes is right, considering that Miami’s Booker T. Washington beat Gorman 28-12 on Oct. 4, 2013. That was Gorman’s last loss before this streak.
Aquinas finished 13-1 a year ago and ranked No. 9 in the final Super 25. Some of that was played without Allen, who was sidelined with an injury.
But Allen, ranked as the No. 10 pro-style QB in the nation in the 247Sports Composite, takes the trash-talking in stride. He is focused instead on improving his skills.
“I want to shorten my release a bit,” he said. “It’s a little long.”
Allen expressed supreme confidence in his receivers at Aquinas, even after he lost a pair of seniors to the Miami Hurricanes in Sam Bruce and Michael Irvin Jr.
“I am foaming at the mouth,” Allen said of his receivers for 2016. “We have Grimes, Mike Hartley, Josh Palmer, Elijah Moore … I could go on, but we are going to put up a lot of points.”
Asked about Grimes in particular, Allen used that word again.
“The kid is just special,” Allen said. “He has it. He knows how to get open. He does what he does. It’s special to watch.”