Georgia lands 4-star CJ Allen from Lamar County Comprehensive over Auburn, Tennessee, USC, Oklahoma, Florida, and many more. Allen is a 6’1 217-pound linebacker, ranking 167th nationally, and is the 10th best player at his position (per 247sports Composite). He is currently the first LB in Georgia’s 2023 cycle. Still, He is expected to be accompanied by number two linebacker Troy Bowles, as Georgia is currently the favorite to land the highly touted prospect.
According to OurLads.com, the current linebackers in the rotation are Smael Mondon Jr. (SO), Jamon Dumas Johnson (SO), Xavian Sorey Jr (RS FR), Trezmen Marshall (RS JR), Rian Davis (RS JR), and Jalon Walker (FR). Although not listed, 2022 4-star CJ Washington (FR) will also look to squeeze himself into the rotation in the upcoming season.
Allen is a very talented athlete all around, as he plays both sides of the ball (RB/LB), plays basketball, and competes in track and field. This athleticism is displayed on both sides, but it is clear why he has been recruited as a linebacker, as you can tell that is where he is most comfortable. His strengths are shown mainly in the open field, as he does a good job waiting for plays to develop and making a good read on the play. Once the play develops, Allen does a great job in pursuit of the play is a run or short pass and tracks balls well on longer throws.
In terms of player comparison, I honestly see some Luke Kuechly, as Allen’s biggest strength in my eyes is his patience in the open field. There is also the common similarity of hitting gaps quickly on run plays, ensuring contact with the ball carrier.
One thing important to note is Lamar County Comprehensive competes in Region 3-AA in Georgia. Typically this is one of the less competitive divisions in Georgia. In part, this may be a reason for Allen displaying dominance and earning the title of player of the year. Jumping from that level of competition to the SEC ball will be a big jump that may limit his opportunity to see the playing field early on.
Due to the youth of this linebacker core and how a majority of the players in the current rotation will be back for the 2023 season. Given the high jump in competition, I don’t expect Allen to find a consistent role as a freshman. However, I expect him to significantly impact his second year when big pieces from Georgia’s talented linebacker core depart for the NFL. Due to Allen’s athleticism, the durability from playing both sides of the ball, and speed (he clocked a 4.62 40-yard dash in June 2021), it would be a surprise to me if he didn’t find a consistent role after adjusting to SEC ball during his first year.