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UW Makes Bid for Small-Town Georgia Linebacker

CJ Allen covers a lot of ground for the Lamar County Trojans.

Sixty miles south of Atlanta is a small Georgia town called Barnesville that once served as a Confederate army hospital hub during the Civil War, has been decimated by deadly tornadoes and promotes its annual country music gathering as "Summer in the Sticks."

This also is home to Christian "CJ" Allen, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker for Lamar County High School Trojans who on Tuesday received a scholarship offer from the University of Washington.

Admittedly, it will be tough sell for anyone to steer this solidly built defender away from one of his 14 other pursuers, national-champion Georgia. Recruiting analysts, who consider him a 3-star recruit, report that he's already visited the home state school five times. 

CJ Allen pulls on a Georgia uniform on his visit.

CJ Allen dressed the part when he visited Georgia.

Yet that hasn't discouraged Kalen DeBoer's new coaching staff from getting offers out to any teenaged player it thinks it might have a shot at, including Allen. 

In three high school seasons, Allen has played both ways, proving as effective at running the football as tackling ball carriers. He comes off a 1,080-yard, 16-touchdown rushing season for Lamar County.

Yet most college talent scouts like him more as a safety. This past fall, he was all over the field, collecting 91 tackles, including 7.5 for lost yards and 3 sacks, and he intercepted 3 passes, returning one 31 yards for a touchdown.

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In his schoolboy career, Allen already has amassed 295 tackles, 19.5 of which are TFLs.

With a population of just 6,000-plus, Barnesville remains a quaint little town, not much more than a rest stop for people coming through. Some 200 years earlier, it was christened for a local tavern owner named Barnes. This place once built the horse-drawn buggy, more than anyone else. Nearby is Hog Mountain. 

For now, it's a football staging area for CJ Allen, whose college offers come from Arkansas, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Miami, Tennessee, UCF, USC, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, West Kentucky and Washington.

Recruiters will find out in the months ahead whether he's a homebody or not.

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