Tennessee makes a move for CJ Allen following weekend visit
Tennessee hosted several high-caliber prospects over the weekend and one was priority target C.J. Allen of Lamar County High School in Barnesville, Ga.
“It was good just talking with the coaches, being real with the coaches,” the linebacker told Volquest. “It was fun talking to some of the guys who were committed here and some of the guys up here.”
The three-star, who stands in at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, visited Knoxville for the second time over the weekend – taking part in the recruiting festivities and the scrimmage that took place Saturday afternoon.
Bonding with the coaching staff was also on the to-do list and he did just that with position coach Brian Jean-Mary.
“I look at coach BJ as a life coach. He’s real,” Allen said. “He gave a whole speech and it had nothing to do with football – everything was about life. I felt like with him, he had my best interest at heart and his player’s best interest at heart.”
The feeling was evident in conversations with Josh Heupel as well.
“I know a lot of people throw the ‘family’ word around, but it’s real with them,” the prospect continued. “He has the player’s best interest outside of football.”
The 2023 prospect boasts over 20 offers at current standing and has picked up plenty since the calendar flipped to 2022. He checked out Georgia back in January and was at Florida in March. But this weekend on Rocky Top, it was the first time his parents were able to see the Volunteer program.
“They loved it. It was their first time coming up. It was my second,” Allen said. “Those first couple of times coming up, you are a little nervous. This case, it wasn’t. It was all comfortable and we were all laughing. It was a big deal – they loved it.”
Allen’s timeline for coming to a decision will likely be in the summer months – probably July. And when it comes down to picking a school, it’ about much more than just football.
“It’s about coaches who will have my best interest at heart,” the prospect said. “I’m going to go hard, every play every day. The football part will take care of itself. So, they’ve got to have my back outside of football. That’s what it will come down to, just honesty and being real.”
Count Tennessee as a real contender here.
“Tennessee is in the top of the lists of schools. The consistency, the coaching style and the culture puts them there,” the linebacker said. “That’s a school that’s on the rise and keeps bringing guys in that are big time recruits. The quarterback [Nico Iamaleava] was a big deal. Coach BJ, coach [Tim] Banks and coach Heupel are reasons they are up there.”
Allen, who was invited to take part in the Under Armour All-American Camp, is a force in the middle. He’s a defensive play-maker who can play all over and matches up well against any offense.
“As a linebacker, I bring speed and the ability to diagnose plays, both in the run game and pass,” the prospect said of himself. “I can drop into coverage and play man-to-man.
“My character, too. I feel like I’m a great person – a humble person. I feel like I can come in and make others better, make other people work hard and make other people great.”
With plenty of Southeastern Conference offers, the interest is real for the Georgia native. Tennessee is in a great spot following the weekend, but will need to keep it up with a summer decision looming.