The Oxford High School senior’s size alone, he stands 6-foot-1 and tips the scales at 308-pounds, is enough to make anyone with a functioning set of spectacles take notice.
Despite having never played the game of football prior to his sophomore year, he became a prized recruit over the course of a three-year career as a Yellow Jacket. He started as an offensive lineman but became a standout once he moved to defensive tackle as junior, emerging as a one of a group of five highly-touted recruits at Oxford, a group which also includes defensive backs Bobby McCain and Trae Elston linebacker Kwon Alexander and Auburn commit Michael Flint.
Carson, will stand out once again as the lone Tennessee commit, playing for either team in the annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Mobile today. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Carson said he’s relished his role as the lone ambassador for the Volunteers during a week of practices and outings with his Yellowhammer State teammates, most of whom are set to play at Bowl Championship Subdivision schools in the fall.
“It’s an honor to be the only guy here that’s going to the University of Tennessee,” Carson said. “But there are a lot of guys here who are thinking about it. I’m telling them that they need to go ahead and come with me. We need a great supporting cast.”
He pledged his allegiance to Tennessee in early July over offers from Kentucky and Illinois and has remained rocky top solid in his choice.
“It’s their coaching staff,” Carson said. “I love them and my parents love them. When you go to college they’re like you’re family away from your family. They’re what really made me make my decision. They have that passion for the game. But I also like that they want you to focus on your grades first, which is most important.”
Carson was chosen to The Star’s preseason Dandy Dozen squad, a list which consists of the top 12 players in the paper’s seven-county, 30-plus school coverage area and lived up to his advanced billing.
He finished the season with 73 tackles, including 18 for loss, six of which were sacks, in his final season on the high school gridiron. Oxford went 7-5 and advance to the second round of the AHSAA Class 6A state football playoffs where they fell to region foe Gadsden City 23-21 on the road.
Oxford assistant Todd Bates helped cultivate Carson’s raw talents, which included unmatched strength, he bench presses 435 pounds, and uncanny strength, he’s been clocked at just under five seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Bates, a former captain at the University of Alabama who also had a stint in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans likened Carson to Green Bay Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji. Raji was the ninth overall selection in the 2009 NFL draft after a stellar career at Boston College.
“He’s definitely something special,” Bates said. “It’s easier to coach Allan because he’s a smart kid. He pays close attention to everything you tell him. A lot of times, when I’m coaching, instead of telling guys what to do, I’ll get in there and show them how to do it. When Allan does it, I’m always like, ‘That’s exactly like what I said do’. A lot of times, he does it better than me.”
“His three best attributes are his low center of gravity, his balance and his strength. Nobody truly understands how strong this guy is. He takes on a double-team almost every play and doesn’t give an inch. Most of the time, he pushed the double team back.”
Carson’s relationship with Tennessee assistant Chuck Smith helped solidify his loyalties to the Volunteers. Essentially, they committed to him before he committed to them.
“They told Allan that they thought he was the best D-tackle in the country and that if they could get him, they didn’t want anyone else,” Bates said. “For an SEC school, to tell you that you’re at the top of their board, what more could want?”
For Carson, the answer is nothing.
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word