UCLA might have trailed the national pack in offering a football scholarship to Tulare Union High star Kazmeir Allen.
Less than a week ago, the Bruins were not even among his top six choices. But all it took was a 15-minute phone call from their new coach to persuade the nation’s scoring leader to commit to UCLA.
That’s because Allen has been a longtime fan of Chip Kelly, the former Oregon coach who took over at UCLA on Saturday.
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play for Coach Kelly.
Kazmeir Allen on committing to UCLA and new coach Chip Kelly
“He called me (Tuesday) night, telling me all the different ways they could use me,” Allen told The Bee on Wednesday. “And I’ve seen what his teams did before. So I knew what he was talking about.
“It’s exciting. He’s got a long history of winning with those Oregon teams. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play for Coach Kelly.”
Allen’s selection of UCLA, announced Wednesday morning on Twitter, came six days after he had narrowed his first 16 offers to a top six. Allen, using his @kazmeir_ handle, posted logos of Fresno State, Cal, Arizona State, Wisconsin, San Diego State and USC.
There was this caveat: “Subject to change.”
Allen has yet to take an official visit or even see the campus.
He has been to the Rose Bowl, where the Bruins play their home games.
Oral commitments are nonbinding and Allen has backed out of one. He announced in June that he would play for Boise State only to decommit and re-open his recruiting.
But Allen said he plans to sign with the Bruins during the early national letter-of-intent period for football that begins Dec. 20 rather than wait for National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
College football this year instituted the early period, which lasts 72 hours.
“I’m done with recruiting,” said Allen, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back. “It’s definitely been fun doing all of the recruiting. But now it’s time to decide where’s the best fit.
“I’m staying with UCLA.”
Allen said Kelly referenced undersized yet speedy backs who flourished in his uptempo, run-oriented system – such as former Oregon stars De’Anthony Thomas and LaMichael James, who went on to play in the NFL.
Heading into a regional bowl date after helping lead the Tribe (13-0) to the Central Section Division II championship, Allen leads the nation with 420 total points and 70 touchdowns, according to statistics posted on Maxpreps.com. He is fourth with 2,989 rushing yards.
Allen was sixth in the 100 meters in 10.48 seconds at the 2017 CIF State Track and Field championships.
His system fits me well. I’ve seen what it can do for others guys around my size and speed.
“His system fits me well,” Allen said. “I’ve seen what it can do for others guys around my size and speed.”
Allen, in addition to his former top six and Boise State, said he also had offers from Air Force, Arizona, Colorado State, Eastern Washington, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon State, San Jose State and Utah State.
Tulare Union High running back Kazmeir Allen leads the country with and set a state record with 70 touchdowns. He also ranks fourth in the nation with 2,989 rushing yards.
His 70 touchdowns are a state record, surpassing the 64 that Tyler Ebell of Ventura scored in 2000, according to Cal-Hi Sports.
Allen has 120 career touchdowns, breaking Dominique Dorsey’s Tulare Union career mark of 118, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
Allen has passed Dorsey (1998-2000) and former Dos Palos star Kenny James (1999-2001) to move to No. 2 all-time in section scoring.
Kazmeir Allen statistics
A RECORD SETTING SEASON
- Touchdowns this season: 70 (state record, leads nation)
- Rushing yards: 2,989 (ranks fourth in country)
- Career touchdowns: 120 (school record and No. 2 all-time in Central Section history)