This is the 11th installment of a DawgNation series featuring the “Next Generation” of Georgia football players from the 2023 class. 4-star CJ Allen wound up rated as the nation’s No. 5 LB and the No. 72 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite. On3 has him as the No. 6 LB and the No. 76 recruit nationally on its Industry Ranking scale.
When trying to describe what CJ Allen will be for Georgia, the temptation is there to start throwing around names like the recipe for a prize-winning Glenn Schumann linebacker gumbo.
Two pinches of Nakobe. Two dollops Roquan. A little Rice. Top with Tindall. Shake on some Quay. Throw in some Georgia red clay. Don’t forget one part JDJ and the Smael seasoning.
The main ingredient is 33 tablespoons of three-down Linebackerness.
The best thing is just to say Allen will be the next great linebacker at Georgia. The sort of guy that Kirby Smart brings up after big games. National championship games even.
It will just feel like deja vu when he does it again.
Smart already praised Allen after Georgia wrecked TCU in the national championship at SoFi Stadium this year.
That was because of his scout team play. Here are Smart’s words in regard to Allen in their entirety.
“I want to say one other thing before we finish. I promised our guys, I promised our guys -- you all know I did this -- you all tell them -- somebody write a really good article because our defensive scout team did the most unbelievable job.
When we got TCU, I called them all in. I had the coaches meet with them. We made them meet and become this defense. And we said we’re going to do it better than they do it; you’re going to watch tape, sit in here, learn how to do it.
We had a guy CJ Allen, No. 6, he did it as good as they did it. We had [Graham] Collins, 57, he did it as good as they did it. We had guys be their guys and do their defense exactly right. Until the last day we were walking in there, they were giving an unbelievable look. That set our offense up for success. Scout team makes a difference, and we had a hell of a scout team to give these guys a look.”
There were a lot of really good articles written about Allen afterward. There will be more.
Georgia can sign prized blue-chip LB recruits across the country these days. The best of the best. This “Next Generation” series has already profiled several impressive new ‘Dawgs from Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
His connection to UGA goes back to a camp on June 1, 2021. That’s where Allen takes it back to.
“Fast forward from that camp to all the recruiting,” Allen told DawgNation last summer. “Being consistent. Plus the tradition and plus talking to Coach [Kirby] Smart. That’s what did it.”
Linebackers coach Glenn Schumann was on FaceTime with Allen once or twice a week prior to that offer.
Allen is a homegrown ‘Dawg. If one had to put together a checklist of all the things that prepared Allen to perform so well on the UGA scout team fresh out of high school last January, it would read like the prototype for the ideal Georgia recruit.
That’s another recipe here where Allen checks all the boxes.
- Prototype size (6-1/225) and speed (11.16 as a junior in the 100m) for his position ✅
- Homegrown ‘Dawg who grew up playing on that GA red clay ✅
- Played both sides of the ball in high school ✅
- Played both sides of the ball (1,628 yards rushing, 26 TDs and 84 tackles) at an All-State level ✅
- 3-sport athlete in high school ✅
- Bonus: One of those sports was running track and throwing the shot put 45 feet, 6 inches. ✅
- Team leader and a high-character young man in his high school ✅
- Named an All-American and rated as a top 75 overall prospect nationally ✅
- Committed early and never strongly considered another school ✅
- Definitely not a transfer portal flight risk
- Recruited hard to build the class once he was committed ✅
- Turns heads once he is on campus and starts hosting recruits on officials in the next class.✅
- When he visited for G-Day as an undecided recruit, he wore an old-school Malcolm Mitchell Georgia jersey to the game.✅
- When he was younger, he dreamed of becoming a Georgia Bulldog. ✅
Aside from being a 5-star recruit, it is hard to even think of a box the most sing-’em-all-obsessive die-hard ‘Dawg fan could ask for.
But that last box there. That’s really special. That’s the secret sauce that will fuel all the accolades and big plays that Allen will produce over the next three or four years.
Georgia is hard. It takes grueling and tireless effort to play key reps for the ‘Dawgs. It causes one to summon up a vast mental, emotional and physical toll in order to excel in the red and black on Saturdays.
It helps to have wanted to lay it all on the line for Georgia your whole life.
His mother, Tamecha Tyus, details that feeling better than anyone else can.
“I love the fact that he is a Bulldog,” Tyus said last fall. “I just love it. CJ has been wanting to do that since he was seven.”
“It was his dream. He’s living his dream in going to Georgia. Everything he is going through now on his way to Georgia he dreamed it. He manifested it when he was a little boy.”
“I told him one night. We ended up crying together. We were in the kitchen and he was getting some dinner and he dropped his plate. He was crying.”
“I said ‘CJ what is it?’ and he said ‘Momma you know I’m living everything I wanted’ and I said that’s right. I said that God’s got plenty more in store for you baby. Just keep pushing. Keeping praying. I’m just really happy for him.”
Tamecha Tyus: The strong woman behind her family
There was a moment after a Lamar County game last fall when it all just started to make a lot of sense. There was a crowd of folks around the future Bulldog.
Then came a moment when another member of the Allen family started to hype Tyus up.
“You want to know the real story,” that family member said. “You need to talk to CJ’s mother. She’s raised her six kids. By herself. They are all graduated. They are all successful and going places.”
“His mother is a strong woman. She had six kids. She raised all of them alone and CJ is her sixth kid.”
That includes three of her sons. Allen is the sixth of her children. All three of her sons have gone on to college.
She told him the following every Friday morning before his games.
“I love you.”
“Have a great game.”
“Remember though. Somebody has got to win and somebody has got to lose.”
“I know,” Allen would always say.
That’s not the only morning ritual for Allen.
“We are strong in the Bible,” Tyus said. “We talk about the Bible a lot. He does his Bible verses every morning before he leaves for school.”
Allen lost his grandfather in October of 2021. He was everything to Allen. He coached football for 27 years.
His grandson CJ was a natural. His first game was when he was seven years old.
“His first game - his first game ever touching a football - he scored four touchdowns,” Tyus said.
There was a family friend in Brunswick that heard him say he wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog back when he was seven years old.
“There was a man in Brunswick who witnessed him say that back then,” Tyus said. “He passed. It was an older guy. He said ‘If I live to see it, I want to see him as a Bulldog on that Bulldog field’ and that has been CJ’s dream since he was little. It has been his dream for forever and he went for it and he got it.”
She still calls him her “Pea” to this day.
“He hates it, though,” Tyus said. “But if you ask him what his Momma calls him he is going to say ‘Pea’ because he knows it.”
She loves the Georgia football staff. Especially linebackers coach Glenn Schumman.
“I love them and I’ve really gotten to know them like family,” he said. “For the past two years, they have really been in contact with us every day. They’ve been very consistent with it.”
Allen eventually committed to UGA on June 20 of last year. Just over a year ago. That was before the ‘Dawgs stacked up the commitments in July.
“I used to say to CJ that man they really want you bad. I used to ask him early what he was going to do. They really wanted him. I was really surprised it took him so long to commit actually. I was shocked he took that long.”
It didn’t take him that long. He made the move public just two weekends after his official visit.
He was the 12th member of the 2023 class.
“He said he didn’t want to go far away from me but I said ‘Aw CJ don’t do that because of me’ when he told me that,” Tyus said.
But it was more than that.
“He said ‘If I go anywhere else you wouldn’t be comfortable leaving me there because I wouldn’t be happy’ because he feels like the coaches at Georgia have been there and they are going to be there,” Tyus said.
His recruiting story includes a monster jump in June of 2022. He was ranked as the nation’s No. 486 overall prospect back on June 2, 2022.
Somebody got the memo that month about his rankings. He committed to UGA as the nation’s No. 167 overall recruit and that ranking just kept climbing.
It is very rare to see a prospect rise some 400 spots in their national ranking in the last six months of their senior year. Allen did that despite not being able to attend the All-American Bowl out in Texas. That’s because he was already immersed in bowl practices in Athens.
“Those Georgia fans need to know that he is a very humble young man,” Tyus said. “And he is just so sweet. He cleans his room. He takes care of me.”
She wore a shirt to his football games at Lamar County that said “That’s my boy” on it. Look for her to do the same this fall in Athens.
“I’m very proud of CJ,” she said. “I can’t even explain how proud I am of CJ.”
Check out CJ Allen below on his live appearance on the “Before the Hedges” DawgNation program.
Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with key 2024 prospects like Daniel Calhoun, Dwight Phillips Jr., Dylan Raiola and Sacovie White.
What his high school football coach thinks of CJ Allen
When Schumann offered him, he actually played it cool.
“I knew it felt great,” Allen said shortly after he committed to the ‘Dawgs last summer. “It felt great. It is crazy but when he offered me, I had a straight face. I didn’t smile or anything. I just looked him in the eye. But on the inside, I was jumping around. Well, I can say it now. It has always been my dream to play for my home state.”
The Bulldogs offered him for a lot of the reasons in that Glenn Schu Gumbo recipe up above, but that’s not why they stressed they offered him. The ‘Dawgs were his first big offer and the last offer he really needed.
When the ‘Dawgs offered him two summers ago, he said he was like “Let’s do it” and “Let’s rock” on the inside despite that poker face. But it actually made him want to work harder.
To prove he deserved that offer from the ‘Dawgs. That type of attitude was a big reason that Schumann told him he offered him in the first place.
They said he was a good player. Of course.
“He liked my character really,” Allen said last summer. “My Mom always told me that my character would take me farther than anywhere. So really just having good character. When he offered me, he told me to stay the same person and don’t change. Safe to say, I haven’t changed at all.”
That’s something that Lamar County coach Travis Ellington knows all about.
“He’s a great great kid,” Ellington said last fall. “Leader on and off the field. Straight-A kid. Never had a discipline referral. The hardest worker that’s there. The most driven and focused. An animal in the weight room. Just an overall coach’s dream.”
“He’s just an awesome young man.”
Perhaps the most notable thing for him was how he saw Allen never let the recruiting attention take him away from where his feet were.
“He’s really a team-oriented kid,” he added.” Stayed humble through all of his recruiting stuff and is still very driven with his goals with our team this year. He’s totally locked in on what’s going to happen on our part with our season. He’s excited about being an early enrollee at Georgia, but you can just see he’s got stuff to take care of this season here in Lamar County first.”
Allen led his team to a 10-2 record this fall. It was Lamar County’s best team since their state title in 2013. The Trojans also made the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
“Probably my favorite CJ story goes to a thing we preach here all the time,” Ellington said. “We don’t care about all these other teams. It is only about Lamar County here. He made the comment the other day when somebody said something about a game and he said ‘We don’t worry about them. We worry about us’ and that is huge. I’ve got tons of them, man. I’ve got tons of great stories I can tell you about CJ. On the practice field. In the games. I’ve got a ton.”
There was the Northeast game for him as a junior. It came at an opportune time. His defense had called out the wrong strength and they were spilling the play to nobody on the opposite side they needed to.
“On the fly, he just fixed it on the field just by communicating to him on the sideline. Just him being on the field like that and being a field general is just CJ. CJ is just like that.”
Allen somehow got bigger and faster for his senior year. He improved on watching tape and also his quickness and acceleration and top-end speed.
That was while he power cleaned 330 pounds and squatted 560 in his senior year. He was over 300 pounds on the bench press.
“It is crazy man there are times when people have the angle on him and he will just outrun them and then there is another time in a game where there is somebody between him and the goal line and he will just run over them,” he said. “And he’s not even going to be a running back in college. He’s going to be a linebacker.”
“He’s a great linebacker but he’s just as good of a running back.”
There was a 21-20 win in overtime against Dublin last fall. Allen had 13 tackles and ran for 88 yards and two scores.
Allen ran for 233 yards and had seven tackles in the season opener. He had 195 yards on the ground and another seven tackles in his final high school game.
The freshman UGA linebacker had a lot of games like that in high school.
“From the first time I met him, he told me he had a set of goals he wanted to accomplish,” Ellington said. “That’s just how self-driven he is. When he was in the sixth grade he told me that. He’s a motivated person. I know he loves his family and he loves Barnesville and Lamar County. Somebody like him, you always have people pulling at him but he is a Trojan through and through.”
“Whatever is inside of him, he’s a different breed, man.”
He’s a Bulldog now. He’s pretty much always been.
DAWGNATION NEXT GENERATION
(check out the series so far)
- Peyton Woodring: Nation’s No. 1 K prospect aims to be the best kicker in UGA history
- Zeed Haynes: Freshman WR can be ‘really special’ in Athens
- AJ Harris: All-American CB signee told Kirby Smart in middle school he would be a ‘Dawg
- Roderick Robinson: Early enrollee ready to add to Georgia football “RBU” tradition
- Pearce Spurlin III: Look for legacy TE Pearce Spurlin III to make big catches in Athens
- Lawson Luckie: The real reason why this ‘Dawg legacy chose UGA will tug at your heart
- Joenel Aguero: The All-American who turned down $3 million to be developed by Georgia football
- Jordan Hall: Georgia’s “Big Baby” DL will make opposing OLs throw tantrums
- Raylen Wilson: Freshman with unreal GPS numbers and a home-cooked recipe for success
- Monroe Freeling: 5-star OT signee is truly a “Next Generation” prospect in Athens