Max Heinrichs sounded like the most relieved high school football coach in America this morning.
"I'm glad it's over with. . .it's a lot of weight off the back," Heinrichs said after his most celebrated pupil made a commitment to Kansas.
Mark Allison, a 6-5, 260-pound prep All-America lineman from Minneapolis, told Heinrichs on Sunday afternoon that he would sign a national letter of inent with the Jayhawks on Feb. 6.
"When he came in and told me he smiled," Heinrichs reported, "so I know he was relieved, too."
FEW KANSAS high school football players have attracted as much interest from major college scouts as Allison. Coaches from USC, Notre Dame, Miami, Arizona State, Colorado and Oklahoma, among others, visited the small town in the north-central part of the state.
"We had 77 different schools come in here," Heinrichs said. "It was busy. We're glad it's over. Notre Dame put on a hard push, but you either like Notre Dame or you don't and Mark didn't visit there."
Allison visited Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas State before making his last scheduled trip to Lawrence over the weekend.
"He liked KU, but he had a couple of questions he wanted answered," Heinrichs said. "I think KU did a good job over the weekend. It probably boiled down to Kansas and Kansas State."
Allison was the only Kansas prep on the Parade Magazine All-America team. He was also named one of the top 25 high school players in the country by USA Today.
Minneapolis High is a Class 3A school with only 126 students, but recruiters saw right away that Allison was a gem.
"HE HAS very, very good movement for a kid in the 260-, 270-pound range," Heinrichs said. "We clocked him at 4.87 in the 40 and he benches 350 pounds. He has a lot of things you look for in a big-time college football player. And when he passed his ACTs, everybody was after him."
Allison chose Kansas, he said, because he ". . .just felt right there. I felt real comfortable. They're on the way up. I wouldn't be going there if I didn't believe that."
Allison is the sixth high school product known to have made a verbal commitment to the Jayhawks.
The others are Marlin Blakeney and Demetrius Hargrove of Leavenworth, Don Davis of Olathe South, Kevin Polian of Wichita Northwest and Joe Hornback of Des Moines, Iowa.