Three-star prospect Calvin Allen visited Arizona during spring practice and enjoyed his time getting to know the Wildcat coaching staff and team. The defensive end recruit from Albuquerque (N.M.) La Cueva recently made another unofficial visit to Tucson and he once again came away impressed with his experience.
"They both went really well," Allen said of his visits. "I was able to learn how I would fit into the team and what the coaching staff is really about. I like the coaching staff and what they've been doing out at Arizona.
"I'm getting a lot of interest from Arizona right now, so it's going pretty good."
The Wildcats recently lost 2012 signee Dylan Cozens to baseball when he was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies leaving a spot on the defensive line that needs to be filled. Allen said knowing that is going to play a small part in his final decision.
"I'm looking at early playing time a little bit," he said. "I have a chance to play early if I work hard, because they recently had one of their signees get drafted to the league for baseball. So they're down a player at my position, which gives me a chance to play out there."
The state of New Mexico's top-ranked prospect also plays tight end, but his preference is to stick on the defensive side of the ball.
"I have a preference for defense, I like it better and I think it's more fun," he said. "But it really doesn't matter what I play, but I would prefer to play defense."
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospect feels like there are a few things that stick out about him on the defensive side of the ball that make him appealing to UA and other programs.
"I always play hard and I'm good with my hands," Allen said. "So I don't get blocked very easily. But those are kind of like my strengths and I'm quick. ... They (UA) like my size and speed for that position. A lot of teams don't have tall rush ends, and that's what they're looking for and I fit that."
Because he's been able to take more than one visit, the defensive end prospect has had a chance to really get to know the Wildcats' coaching staff better.
"It's good," he said about his relationship with the staff. "I talk to (recruiting coordinator) Matt Dudek a lot down there, and I like coach Kirlav (Bill Kirelawich) and the way he does things and his scheme."
Should he ultimately pick UA, Allen would be spending a lot of his time with Kirelawich and the 2013 recruit is very comfortable with the defensive line coach's approach.
"I like how he coaches, I like the old school style," Allen said. "My dad played in college and that's kind of what I've gotten from him. What I've learned from him is kind of the same way I'd get from coach Kirlav."
At this point Allen is getting closer to making a decision, but most importantly he wants to make sure his next school is a good fit in many aspects.
"Just the best fit for my family," he said about what he's looking for. "My mom wants me to go to a good academic school, and I want their football team to be good - obviously. Also something that's close, I don't want to go too far away.
"I want to make [my decision] soon, and definitely before the season starts. It just kind of depends on if other kids commit to schools and if my timetable closes on a school."
There are a number of recruits who have made the choice to commit early and Allen said that has put some pressure on him to make an early decision. However, he also has been watching to make sure he doesn't lose out on an opportunity - he said.
Although UA is one school that is sticking out in his recruitment, it is not the only option Allen has right now and the Wildcats' biggest competition could come from one of his in-state schools.
"I recently just got an Iowa State offer, so I haven't really taken that in yet," he said. "But my home school, UNM (New Mexico), they're the only other school really pushing. At UNM I'd have a really good chance of playing early, because they are going to lose a lot of players because of seniors and there's only going to be one recruiting class ahead of me that has experience on me.
"That's the biggest thing that sticks out for UNM."
While he continues to think about his future, Allen is also preparing to work more as a pass-rushing defensive end this season.
"This year we're changing defenses, so that I can run that rush end more," he said. "I've done it a little bit in the past, but schools have said they want to see more of that from me. So I'm going to do that more in my senior season to make sure that schools can see me do that.