When Stone Bridge High School head coach Mickey Thompson thinks of his former Virginia Player of the Year, now the Redskins' 17th-overall pick, Jonathan Allen, he thinks of two different people.
The first is the calm gentleman, who shows off his respectful demeanor around people, and who sounds like he wouldn't hurt a fly. The second is the one the Redskins hope to see on the field each day, the one who makes you reconsider the person you've previously met.
"You have no idea what he is like when he is on the football field," Thompson said following Allen's introductory press conference at FedExField. "You would be shocked at his demeanor and the way he is when he gets on the field. He is just intense, you just look in his eyes and go, 'That's a player.'"
Thompson, who sat in a small audience watching Allen Saturday on an elevated stage, knew that as soon as he met him as a freshman -- then only 190 pounds and playing a few different positions, including wide receiver -- he was a physical specimen.
"You knew he was a good athlete," Thompson said. "You just didn't know if he was a football player or basketball player."
As Allen bulked up, that question was quickly answered. Thompson shifted him to defense and he carried the team as a junior and senior, drawing consdierable interest from scouts, and then eventually from Nick Saban.
"It was fun and challenging," Allen said of his high school experience earlier this year at NFL Combine. "Coach Thompson really pushed us. I mean, we would wake up at 6 a.m. to go lift before school. That's something that none of us have never done before, so it really helped prepare me for what I was going to experience at the next level."
"He was the best," Thompson said. "You find out quickly that he is one of the best players you're going to have you don't know what level; you can't predict the kind of rise he had when he first comes to you. You knew he was a good football player but how good he was, over the next couple of years, we were finding out slowly."
Thompson has been a Redskins fan his whole life, and while he would have liked to see Allen be taken earlier in the draft, an indication of just how good he thinks the lineman is, Allen donning a Redskins cap is the next best thing.
"It was amazing," Thompson said. "I grew up here; my football idol is Sonny Jurgenson way back with the Redskins. Just seeing him play for the Redskins, I was disappointed with draft, he is a much better player than that, he is the best player in college football, but he is also a Redskins now, so that's exciting."
Photo credit @Patino_57