Buck Allen remembers the first time he met Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll.
Allen was entering his freshman year of high school in Tallahassee, Fla., and Carroll was on a recruiting trip as the head coach at the University of Southern California. Carroll made the cross-country trip to recruit a senior at Allen's school, but the skinny 14-year-old freshman caught his attention at a seven-on-seven passing camp.
Carroll offered Allen a scholarship on the spot.
"I introduced myself and he told me I had an offer from him," Allen said. "I didn't know what it meant. But later my coach told me how powerful it was. Not many guys get a Division I offer and haven't played a snap of high school. I guess he saw something in me that I didn't see in myself yet."
Allen, who didn't even have his nickname "Buck" yet, was playing receiver at the time but ultimately went on to become a star running back for the Trojans. Carroll also left USC for the NFL before Allen arrived in Los Angeles, so he never actually coached him.
But that initial connection between them still resonates, and they reminisced about it at the scouting combine this year.
"We just talked about when he recruited me, and how proud he was when I took over at USC, and how I carried myself. Pete Carroll always has great things to say," Allen said. "Pete Carroll is a great guy. I see why guys love playing for him."
Carroll still remembers watching Allen as a youngster eight years after that initial meeting in Florida.
"He was always a guy that I kind of had my eye on since he was a young man," Carroll said. "The program he was coming from was such a good program that – and he had such a reputation as a young guy – that we were excited about recruiting him, even though he was all the way out there in Florida."
Now Allen will have his first chance to go up against the first college coach to ever recruit him. The rookie running back has taken over the starting job and thrived with the opportunity the last two weeks.
He's coming off the best game of his career where he topped 170 all-purpose yards – it was the kind of game Carroll likely envisioned when he made that scholarship offer – and Allen hopes to keep that momentum going against Seattle.
"He saw something in me that was pretty special," Allen said. "I'm excited to go up against his defense and see what happens."