Coach Kirk Ferentz said last week that Iowa Football was being proactive with recruits when it came discussing two reports that found racial bias in the program. The topic was talked about throughout this past weekend when the Hawkeyes hosted 14 official visitors and another very important unofficial visitor (Xavier Nwankpa).
Defensive lineman Brian Allen Jr. came to Iowa City with questions. The Illinois resident and Class of 2022 Oakdale (CT) St. Thomas More standout felt good about how they were answered.
"Everybody had a lot of questions about the stuff that went on last year," Allen Jr. told HN. "The coaches kept it real and answered all of them. The No. 1 question was what's going on to spark change? They answered it very thoroughly, especially when I asked coach Ferentz."
Ferentz shared with recruiting visitors last summer's intense team meetings, during which some players walked out.
"They had a whole presentation about what they've done and what they're doing to spark change," Allen Jr. said.
Recruits and their families also met for a Q&A with current student-athletes without coaches present. Allen Jr. and his parents believed guys in the program were happy with the progress being made.
"They had the people that were involved leave, or one of them, the strength coach (Chris Doyle). Talking to the players, they said it's been so much better and it's brought them together more. I definitely felt that," Allen Jr. said.
Second-year defensive lineman Deontae Craig played host to him on the visit. They hung out with his roommate, Jay Higgins, who also arrived on campus last summer during the racial bias investigation.
"I was asking those guys questions. I was asking other dudes questions. There was a lot of questions thrown at them and they answered them all. They kept it real, too," Allen Jr. said.
He bonded well with Craig and the other recruits visiting for the weekend. Defensive line coach Kelvin Bell showed him how he'd fit into the Iowa scheme.
"I like how coach Bell coaches the D-Line. Everybody is interchangeable. Everybody can move around. I could be on the edge in a five- or even a seven- or I could be at a three-technique. All his linemen have to know every spot."
Allen Jr. (6-4, 245) has seen his recruitment pick up after a strong junior season and a solid June at college team camps. He's officially visited Illinois, Virginia Tech and Iowa, who offered him a scholarship on Sunday. Iowa State, Kansas and Purdue were among the other programs to have reportedly offered.
"I'm going to be announcing my Top 3 very soon. After that it's just talking to my family and looking in the mirror and seeing where I really want to go after more research and then eventually make a decision," Allen Jr. said.
Academics will be the most important part of his process, he said. He wants to study Sports Broadcasting.
Iowa delivered a presentation to him in that field. It showed graduates who have gone on to success.
"I plan on interning at FS1, ESPN, Big Ten Network or something like that while I'm in college. Hopefully that leads to a job someday. It's great that I see that Iowa has the resources that I need to get to where I want to go," Allen Jr. said.
He's not putting a timeline on his college decision.
"When it feels right, it feels right. I think decision time is coming soon, but I'm just going to see how it goes and how I feel," he said.
Rivals rates Allen Jr. as a three-star recruit, the No. 2 overall player in Connecticut for '22 and the No. 49 strong-side defensive end nationally in the cycle.
In two games last season, he totaled five sacks (one strip sack), four tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.
Here's a look at Allen Jr.'s highlights: