November 28, 2005

The sackmaster

LAKE ORION, Mich. - Most high school players are lucky to get double-digit sacks throughout their entire career, but Lake Orion, Mich., defensive tackle Josh Allison always had bigger things in mind. This season he recorded 25 sacks, just missing the state record by one, and now he's already focused on next year and breaking the record.

"I think I had a couple more sacks in me somewhere in the season," said Allison, a good looking player that is just growing into his 6-foot-2, 275-pound frame. " "There were a couple of games where I only played one half because we were blowing people out. It's a little frustrating to know that I would have probably broken the record if I had gotten to play in those games, but the team is more important.

"We won, so it's no big deal. But I still think about that one or two more sacks that would have pushed me over the edge."

Allison is the type of player that is never satisfied, according to his coach Chris Bell.

"He works so hard in everything," Bell said. "He's a real hard-nosed kid. We've had some really good defensive linemen here over the years, but he might be the best I've coached. He can hurt you in so many different ways. He's got such great change of direction. He's so, so fast."

He's also strong and well versed in pass-rush technique.

The swim move? Check.

The bull rush? Check.

The push-pull? Check.

You name it, Allison said he's got it on his resume.

"My coach taught us a lot of new moves on the d-line this off-season," Allison said. "He worked with us on the rip, the swim and push-pull. The swim works the best for me. There's nothing like getting by them with a quick move and getting after the quarterback.

"I had one game against Adams where I was able to overpower the center. I think I had six sacks that game."

What's even more amazing about Allison's season is that he was doing it at defensive tackle. Instead of lining up at defensive end, where most people rack up sack after sack, he was doing it from the interior of the line.

"I get double-teamed pretty much every play," he said. "But I somehow work hard and make sure to get past whoever is blocking me."

Bell said it is Allison's quickness that allows him to be unstoppable.

"That's his greatest asset," Bell said. "He is so quick off the ball. We can't block him in practice. It makes our practices a nightmare. He's also still so raw, and he's going to grow into that frame of his. His dad is 6-4 and 300 pounds, so you know Josh has some room to grow."

All the talk about his future makes Allison smile. He knows that Lake Orion has produced some very talented players over the past decade. He blushes when he hears the comments from his coach about how great he can be.

"It's pretty exciting to know that you could be the next big guy," Allison said. "It kind of pumps you up and makes you want to work harder and stuff like that. It makes you want to get bigger, stay focused on the grades in school. It all makes you want to be the best you can be."

Where he will be in the future is something Allison has already thought quite a bit about. He gets regular mail already from teams like Michigan State, Boston College, Indiana, Purdue and Wisconsin. Allison's cousin, Ryan Allison, is a receiver at Michigan State and the Spartans might have the early jump on the competition.

"I like State," Allison said. "It's a good program, and they have top-notch coaches. My cousin is up there, too. I'm real close to him. I talk to him all the time. He tells me about how good. He says it's a real good program."

Allison said he might even be tempted to end the recruiting process early if he got an early scholarship offer from the Spartans.

"I probably would end it early," he said. "If they would offer, I would maybe, well probably jump on it. I haven't talked to them about it yet."

That's because he's too busy already trying to get better for next season.

"I have to do what I can to break that sack record," Allison said. "I'd like to get more sacks next season. That's my goal."



 

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