RICHMOND, Va. – Before he was an NFL first round Draft pick, Redskins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen was the Gatorade Virginia High School Football Player of the Year. Before he was the Player of the Year for Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia, Allen was a student at Western Branch High School in Chesapeake. However, Allen did not play football at Western Branch.
Yes, you read that right.
The five-star recruit who went on to win high school football Player of the Year for the Commonwealth before starring at the University of Alabama, did not begin his high school career with football.
In a 1-on-1 training camp interview with News 3, Allen – the second-year Redskins defensive lineman, dishes on his days at Western Branch High in Chesapeake – a campus where he spent his freshman year.
“I loved football, but I was a basketball player,” Allen explained. “I was like 6-foot-3 in the sixth grade. So I’m thinking i’m going pro – a future NBA player. I was starting as a freshman on the varsity basketball team. My whole life was basketball back then.”
The Redskins selected Allen with the 17th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. In four seasons at Alabama, Allen recorded 154 career tackles in 57 games. His 28.5 career sacks rank second in Alabama history, trailing only College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas.
Earlier this year, Allen donated 100 autographed jerseys to Chesapeake Parks, Recreation, and Tourism department’s football league.