GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Anybody who closely follows high school football recruiting has heard of Allen Trieu.
The West Michigan native is one of the premier analysts in the business, and he even appears on national broadcasts for the Big Ten Network on National Signing Day.
The road to become Scout.com’s Midwest Recruiting Manager started in middle school for Trieu.
“I had an eighth grade computers project and I had to build a website (and) I built a scouting website,” he said.
Somehow, his website got noticed and in part because his age wasn’t included, he got a unique opportunity.
“I went to the NFL Combine as a teenager,” he said. “I skipped my homeroom to do ESPN Radio to talk about the draft. That’s where it all started all because of an eighth grade project.
His website received requests to watch and analyze some of West Michigan’s top high school prospects. The freelance work eventually turned into a full-time job with Scout.com, where he is the manager of Midwest recruiting.
If a standout recruit announces his commitment, Trieu is breaking the news on Twitter and writing posts for Scout and The Detroit News.
In order to keep up with the latest information, Trieu is constantly glued to his phone and computer to communicate with athletes and coaches to keep track of offers and commitments.
“At the end of the day, it’s a relationships job,” he said. “You have to have a good rapport with recruits, coaches, even the fans that are constantly giving us a hard time on social media.”
Although he was prepared to be heckled by fans, he wasn’t prepared for the athlete’s parents.
He said he receives phone calls from them every single day, some of which come with offers to entice him into improving their son’s recruiting grade. He is asked to put an extra star (a metric to evaluate recruits) on an athlete’s grade all the time.
“One story I can tell, a high school football player whose dad was a doctor offered to deliver our baby in exchange for a higher ranking,” Trieu said. “I turned it down obviously.”
The stars are good for bragging rights, but they don’t guarantee success at the next level. A lack of stars also doesn’t mean the player won’t be successful.
“If we’re talking (my biggest recruiting miss in West Michigan), I saw Kirk Cousins play a lot. I thought he was talented, never saw him being an NFL starter and one of the highest-paid guys in the league. Definitely, Kirk is the biggest miss we had,” he said.
Analyzing high school football recruits isn’t the only talent Trieu has. He also has frequented the stage as a stand-up comedian.
He started doing stand-up comedy when he was enrolled at Grand Valley State University.
“Funny is hard, because what’s funny to one person isn’t funny to another person,” Trieu said.