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February 4, 2006
Two of a kind
DALLAS - Two of the state's best were just a sample of the talent that made their way to the first Rivals.com Junior Day for the 2007 recruiting class. At the Dallas event, there were nearly 300 players who flooded into Southern Methodist University on Saturday. Two of those players didn't need many introductions.
South Grand Prairie offensive tackle Tray Allen has been talked about as possibly the best offensive tackle not only in the state, but in the nation. Allen was joined by highly touted linebacker Richetti Jones who is a fierce pass-rusher and devastating hitter on Saturday.
Regardless of how far they've already come with success, they still couldn't wait to be a part of the day's activities and learn a little bit more.
"I just wanted to get more knowledge about the recruiting process about what to look for and what not to look for," Allen said. "I wanted to be around a great group of guys and Rivals.com who has already done a lot in getting my name out there."
Jones felt the same way, even though he's already picked up several new offers of his own even in the last week.
"I just want to learn another trick of the trade to make it better or easier for me to get through the recruiting process," Jones said. "You can always learn more about it, that's what I wanted and I got that here."
Upon arrival, both Jones and Allen had already heard about each other and talked on occasion. Any rivalry between the two was obviously extinguished and some mutual respect was evident.
Allen, who holds offers now from Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Kansas State, has had little problem getting noticed. Like Jones, he's been waiting for this day since growing up and playing ball in the backyard.
"I used to think about it a lot and I was watching all those guys play on Saturday," Allen said. "Now, its crazy, I'm going to be stepping into that world where I'm going to be playing on Saturdays."
"Last summer, is when I felt it starting. I went to a couple of Tulsa camps. I went to a Texas A&M camp, and then a Texas camp. Tulsa started writing me and then A&M started writing me, then Texas started writing me and I was getting more popular."
Jones knows that his offer count isn't surely going to stop anytime soon either. His stack is building very quickly as well.
"Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Baylor," Jones said about his current list of offers. Those are my five now. People ask me if I'm waiting on another school, but I say if they don't offer you, they're not that interested. I'm not hoping, but just concentrating on the ones I've got."
Jones and Allen have quite a bit in common with their recruitment as well. Texas A&M struck very early with both players and made a quick impression. Each top prospect had the Aggies with a bit of an edge early.
While both say their interest is high in the Aggies, they're both looking at a few other programs as well.
"Texas is one school that I would like to see an offer come from," Allen said. "They're a school with a big high-powered offense and you get a lot of publicity for the next level there."
"Notre Dame and the Florida schools are also up there with me. Playing for Charlie Weis, you're going to be a good player ready to go to the NFL."
Jones also has interest in Texas and plans on making a summer camp stop in Austin. What will happen with a few more big programs joining the mix, remains to be seen.
As for now, they both also agree on stretching out the process.
"I want to play the whole thing out, take all of my visits, and then I'll have a decision much later on," Jones said.
Allen says that the idea of doing something on television has him intrigued. Regardless of when he knows which school is right for him, he'll hold off to make his declaration at one of the annual all-star games.
While both players had big junior years, after this event and a very beneficial off-season, they both want to be even better. Allen says he won't stop until he feels like he's the best.
"I just want to be dominant," Allen said. "I want to be known as the best offensive lineman in Texas, the nation, and to ever come through South Grand Prairie. I want to have the little kids to strive to be like me. I want little kids to know that being an offensive lineman isn't bad. You don't have to carry the ball to be great."
Jones admits that he loves the process and doesn't mind all the big attention.
"I wear a size 15 shoe and I have six shoeboxes full of mail," Jones said about his heavy recruitment. "I like it man. This is all right."
"It's also just starting though and I don't know what will happen from here."