For many a kid Taariq Allen's age, the summer months bring relaxation. But the phone call the Rivers senior had to make over the weekend to Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini was anything but easy.
"It was one of the toughest decisions of my life," said Allen, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound wide receiver/safety who says he verbally committed to Connecticut on Saturday. "I narrowed it down to those two schools [UConn and Nebraska]; those were the two schools that I felt most comfortable with. It was really hard to tell Coach Pelini I was committing to UConn. He told me if anything changes, I know where to call him, but it was definitely real tough."
Allen, a Roxbury resident, transferred to Rivers last summer from Marblehead High and re-classified into the class of 2011, joining his cousin Ben Patrick in the defensive backfield. Allen became one of Massachusetts' most sought-after players the past few months, most recently impressing at camps at Nebraska and UConn. Allen was also scheduled to attend camp at Boston College before injuring his ankle.
With his commitment set, Allen is focused on gearing up for his final season at Rivers, when the Red Wings will look to keep up the momentum built in last year's breakout 4-4 season. Allen will suit up once again alongside Patrick -- who is getting looks from a slew of FCS schools in the Northeast along with Tulane -- and quarterback Shaquor Sandiford. Two new highly touted additions, lineman Billy Olbach (Hopkinton) and tight end Nick Lund (Woburn), will also join the fray.