It wasn’t that Pat Allen was trying to brag about winning a high school state championship.
It’s just that to earn last year’s Maryland Class 3A title, Allen’s Franklin team had to defeat Georgia freshman teammate Juwuan Briscoe’s Thomas Stone squad. But with Briscoe in the same room as Allen shortly after the two arrived to Georgia’s campus, Briscoe was forced to see Allen’s giant championship ring staring him in the face.
“I flashed it, and the sparkle kind of hit him in his eye,” Allen said with a smile. “He was looking at me like, ‘Bro, you could have let us have that one. You already had one.’ I wanted another one, though.”
Yes, Allen was a part of back-to-back state title teams, with the second defeating Briscoe’s team in the semifinals 30-0.
“I hold that against him every time we talk,” Briscoe said with a laugh.
Allen will hope his winning ways continue now that he’s a member of the Bulldogs.
His move from Reisterstown, Maryland, a city north of Baltimore, to Athens has been smooth thus far.
In addition to having a home-state connection with Briscoe, he knew many of his other classmates through the recruiting process. Allen camped with some and went on official visits to different schools with others. Allen’s outgoing personality has made it easy for him to step into Georgia’s program without it feeling foreign to him.
“I’m just fitting in as much as I can,” Allen said. “Working with these guys, regardless of where I’m from, regardless of being from the north coming to Georgia, these guys are making me feel welcome every day. It’s no different, we compete every day.”
Unlike Briscoe, who is competing for playing time in Georgia’s secondary, Allen, a 300-pound offensive tackle, is waiting his turn behind an offensive line that has been lauded as one of the best in nation by national college football analysts. The line returned four starters from a group that dominated opponents on the ground with an average of 257.8 rushing yards per game.
Allen, who came in as a four-star offensive line recruit, won’t have the pressure of stepping in immediately to fill a spot.
Early on, he has relished the fact that he has been able to learn from his veteran teammates up front.
“Before I go in (for practice reps), I would watch sets of Kolton Houston, I would watch sets of Greg Pyke, I would watch sets of Brandon Kublanow,” Allen said. “I’d watch sets of their footwork and do everything I can to mimic it or make it some type of way for my own style. It’s great to see these guys work.”
If there was one major adjustment Allen noticed quickly, however, it was getting into football shape. The high tempo Georgia practices at, combined with the August heat, made it rough for the big offensive lineman. But it was an aspect Allen got accustomed to.
“Conditioning was crazy at first,” Allen said. “I thought I was gonna die the first week. Out of that whole period of time, working with my guys, we’re grinding every day.”
Whether Georgia redshirts Allen remains to be seen. While the starting offensive line is set, the second unit is still open for competition.
Allen acknowledged he needs to continue working to improve his game for the college level. But he wants to make sure he’s in a position where he can be called upon if needed.
“If it comes to the situation where the coaches feel I’m ready, then I’ll have to be ready,” Allen said.