Catching Up With John Allen

Rusty Mansell sits down with former Georgia Bulldog John Allen

Growing up as young man in a small north Georgia town the high school football team was it, and every boy in that town wanted to be like them. I remember seeing John Allen on the same field as me when I was in the 8th grade and praying to God that I didn't have to hold a dummy he was blocking--or cross his path in any way. He was truly a man among boys as a senior at Pepperell High School back in 1986.

I looked up to him, and we all wanted to be like him. I remember the buzz around the whole town each time an SEC coach would stop by our school--and that was to see Coach Lynn Hunnicutt and to discuss John.

What schools did your choice come down to?
John Allen:
Georgia, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Tennessee and pretty much all the southern schools. At the end it was Georgia, Georgia Tech and Auburn. Coach Dooley was the deciding factor for me and my decision to play for Georgia.

When did you commit?
Back then it was much different than today in that you did not usually commit until after your senior season. It was early by the standards back then, and I committed 3-4 weeks before signing day.

What was the biggest win you were a part of during your time at Georgia?
Probably Clemson in 1991, a night game in Athens. In 1990 we had gone over there and got our butts whipped in the game and in a fight. A couple of our guys decided to stand on their logo as they came down the hill before the game, and that did not sit too well with them and they took it out on us pretty good. In 91 they came into Athens as a top 10 team and we whipped them pretty good on national TV at night. It was a great atmosphere that night in Sanford stadium.

Who was the best player you played against at Georgia?
I actually did not cover the guy, but my freshman year we played against Andre Rison. We tried to triple team him at times and still could not cover him. He did what he wanted to when he wanted to against us that night in the Gator bowl. I also played against Emmitt Smith, but I proudly say that we shut him down pretty good. My junior year we played Brett Favre, and that guy almost beat us by himself--in fact they missed a field goal late that would have beat us. I think they beat Alabama and Florida State that year with Favre.

You played with Garrison Hearst, Lars Tate, Keith Henderson, and Rodney Hampton to name a few…
Everybody likes to talk about the running backs especially during the late 80's at Georgia. Out of all those I would say hands down that Rodney Hampton was the best. He could run over you, around you; what ever it took, he could do it.

What are you doing these days?
When I got done at Georgia, I went into coaching at North Alabama coaching linebackers. My heart was set on that. After I my first child was born, I decided I did not want to get into a life style of moving every few years, so I got out of coaching. Today I am in the corporate world, and I live in Calhoun. But I am still a coach at heart.

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