TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- ESPN 150 defensive end Jonathan Allen (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) committed to the University of Alabama in May despite the fact that he’s never been to a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. That will change this weekend as Allen plans to visit for the Texas A&M game on Saturday.
“I honestly don’t know what to expect,” he said. “The only other game I’ve been to was a Maryland-UVA game, and that’s going to be nothing compared to this game. I really don’t know what to expect. I’m just going to go out there and try to enjoy it.
“I heard it’s wild. I heard we have about 105,000 in the stadium and about 35-to 40,000 outside tailgating. I heard it’s really crazy.”
The Crimson Tide’s defense will face possibly its toughest test yet with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The freshman signal caller has accounted for over 2,500 yards passing, over 900 yards rushing and 31 total touchdowns.
“Whenever you go up against a player like Manziel, you have to, not be worried, but be cautious of what he can do,” Allen said. “But I’m confident in the players and the coaching staff to put together a scheme that best fits that style. I’m confident in our ability to stop him.”
Allen, who jumped to No. 40 overall in the updated ESPN 150 rankings, released this week, admits that he was a little nervous during last week’s LSU game, but he’s been impressed with the Tide this season.
“Alabama has been looking great,” he said. “The LSU game gave me a little bit of a scare, but I feel like the season is going really well. If we win out, we’ll be in the national championship, and hopefully, we’ll be able to make it two in a row and three in the last four years.”
Although both Allen and the UA coaching staff are in the middle of their seasons, the two still find time to stay in touch. The Virginia native says he talks with head coach Nick Saban once every couple of weeks, and he and his recruiting coordinator, Lance Thompson, talk at least once a week.
“They’re just telling me to enjoy high school and keep working hard because once you go to college, that’s when it gets for real,” Allen said. “Football is your job, not just a hobby. They just want me to enjoy the time I have left here and get ready for when I get down there."
Allen will make the long drive to Tuscaloosa with his father, but first he has a playoff game to win on Friday night. Stone Bridge High School enters the playoffs undefeated, ranked No. 1 in the region and No. 2 in the state.