Stressed, Confused, Relieved.
Those three expressions can perfectly describe what Temple, Texas quarterback Zach Allen has felt in the last few days. A longtime commitment to Syracuse, Allen called an audible on Friday night as he made the switch to TCU, becoming the first signal caller for the class 16th commitment overall for the 2013 class.
The stress began over a week ago as head coach Doug Marrone left Syracuse to become the Buffalo Bills new coach. More uncertainty surfaced days later for Allen as the Orangemen lost their second coach, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who will be Marrone’s offensive coordinator in Buffalo.
Without the two coaches who were primarily responsible for gaining Allen’s commitment no longer on board, things turned complicated real fast for Allen. It was thought that the hiring of Coach Scott Shafer would be enough to secure Allen’s commitment, but unfortunately for the Orangemen, TCU was in the background making a move.
The Frogs had recruited the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Allen throughout the year but backed off once learning of his solid commitment to Syracuse. Once the coaching change was made, Allen said the Frogs entered the picture once again. In a span of just over 24-hours, Allen received an offer from the Big 12 program and he visited the Ft. Worth campus and ultimately made the switch.
“They had showed interest throughout the year and had come to one of my games,” he said of TCU. “Coach Spradlin and I had both said that I was committed to Syracuse and they kind of backed off. Then, they figured it was a good time to contact me once they found out about the head coach and offensive coordinator leaving. They asked if I wanted to be recruited again and if I was comfortable enough; they offered and I visited and made a commitment.”
Allen admitted the decision to switch to TCU was one of the toughest decisions he’s ever had to make. But as Marrone and Hackett showed and Allen noted, sometimes you have to make a decision that’s the best for you and your family and nobody else.
“It’s been a pretty stressful last week with all of the stuff that happened at Syracuse,” he said. “I had been loyal to my commitment with Syracuse but with the coaching change with the head coach and offensive coordinator leaving, there were some uncertainties. I feel like Coach Shafer will do a great job at Syracuse but I wanted to go somewhere that I knew what was going to happen with the offense. I took a visit to TCU and really got a good feel about it and felt like it was the right place for me and I decided to commit.
“I have the utmost respect for the Syracuse University staff, all of those guys were extremely nice to me throughout the recruiting process but I did commit for Coach Marrone and Coach Hackett and I stayed loyal to my commitment for the past six months. I wouldn’t have even taken a visit if nothing happened with coaching changes and I said that ever since I committed. I said the only way I’d ever decommit is if something happened with the coaching staff. They’re on the rise and they’re going to have a great year going into the ACC. I respect the coaching staff there and it was a very hard decision. I just made the decision that was just best for me and my family. It was very confusing; I wanted to have a thought process for myself and with my family and just wanted to make sure I was making the right decision.”
Named as district 8-5A offensive player of the year, Allen accounted for over 3,000 yards (2,175 passing yards, 24 TD) of offense for the Wildcats in 2012. The dual-threat quarterback is excited to play in a similar style of offense at TCU, which he feels will give him the best opportunity to compete.
“They run a very similar offense to what we ran at Temple the last two years and they feel like I excelled with our offense and feel like I can do the same with their offense,” he said. “There’s a chance for me to come in and compete and all I asked them for was the opportunity. I’m going to compete my heart out whether it’s the starting job or backup job and doing whatever I can do to help TCU.”
Aside from the coaching changes at Syracuse that ultimately led Allen to revisit his options and led him to TCU, the switch also benefits Allen’s family and friends now that they don’t have to make the long trip to Syracuse to watch him play. Allen says his family always supported him no matter what his decision would be, but he admits with no hesitation that TCU’s proximity to Temple did play a factor.
“It was a big part to be two-hours away from my family and my friends, they can come watch my games and I have family all over Texas that can come and support me and that may not have happened in New York. It’s a lot harder to get to a game and you have to fly out there,” he said. “It definitely would’ve been a challenge for my family to come support me and watch my games. It definitely played a factor being just two hours away.”
Allen will arrive on campus Sunday in order to start classes on Monday. With the whirlwind of the last 24-hours, he hasn’t had the chance to meet but just a few future teammates and hasn’t seen who his fellow 2013 commits for TCU are just yet.
“It’s been such a shock and everything happened so fast,” he said. “I haven’t got to know any of the guys yet.”
No doubt about it, Allen is relieved all the stress of the last couple of days is over.