Montclair is rooting for Josh Allen, linebacker for Kentucky Wildcats and SEC Defensive Player of the Year, who is expected to be a high first round draft pick in tomorrow’s NFL Draft.
Allen describes Montclair as the “best city in Jersey.”
Born and raised in Montclair, Allen shares that growing up was challenging for him, because “he learned different” than his peers. He was placed in special education classes because of a stutter.
In a Rolling with the Rookies video, with Allen visiting familiar Montclair streets and schools, Allen’s friend Jason Simon describes how he and Allen would get made fun of a lot because they were in “basement classes and in special ed” in elementary school.
Simon says Allen “was trapped in this room all day and the only time he would be able to be out with the other kids was at lunch.”
Allen’s mother talks about how she felt Josh wasn’t challenged in the classes and how she wanted to get him out of them.
Allen, feeling stuck, left Montclair to live in Alabama with family for a time and went on to become an all-state receiver. But when he returned to Montclair for his senior year, Montclair High School Coach John Fiore saw Allen’s potential; Allen became a two-way Mounties starter in 2014.
Fiore knew that Allen could do more, and he was right. The New Jersey-area recruiters who passed on Allen in high school found out they were wrong.