Chuck Allen has already developed five NFL prospects in his 15 years coaching offensive linemen at the high school level. Notre Dame target Warren Ericson could be next.
The North Gwinnett O-line coach helped develop Ja’Wuan James and Austin Shepherd into top prospects in 2010. James played at Tennessee and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins as a first-round pick in 2014. Shepherd played at Alabama and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round in 2015.
Allen also tutored current Oklahoma left tackle Orlando Brown and Clemson left tackle Mitch Hyatt. He also got his hands on Garrett Clark, who played at Southern Illinois before making the Chicago Bears.
“I've been very blessed to have coached some good guys,” Allen said. “(Ericson) is one of those guys that when he graduates he'll probably end up being, as long as he stays healthy, he'll probably end up being one of the top two guys that I have coached. Each guy has had his own skill set and that stuff, but in terms of being able to put the whole thing together in terms of pass protection and physicality and the run game and stuff, he'll go down as one of the top two guys.”
The 6-foot-5, 320-pound guard from Suwanee, Ga., already holds offers from Florida, Michigan and LSU.
“I think most everybody is looking at him as a tackle,” Allen said. “He’s a massive guy but he moves really, really well for a big guy. Athletically, he reminds me a lot of Ja’Wuan. Physically, in terms of his physical play, that's his deal. He's one of those guys that wants to rip your head off and finish through the whistle and do all those kind of things.”
Ericson averaged nine pancakes per game in 2016 playing in a pass happy offense.
Being next in line from North Gwinnett has provided its own motivation.
“He comes from a school that puts out a bunch of good offensive linemen that went on to college,” Allen said. “He has embraced that and taken it to heart. He's not going to be that guy that lets the tradition down. He kind of has embraced that idea and in terms of his play, he’s a very physical player, but he's also very athletic. In terms of his technique, he's one of those guys that you come by the school at 8 o’clock at night and he's out on the field working on his technique. He's a football guy. He eats and breathes it.”
Ericson is a long way from making a college decision but he’ll be prepared when that day arrives.
“I'll bet he can tell you the starting linemen from Notre Dame last year,” Allen said. “He does his homework and all that stuff. He's just a great kid to be around.”
Scout.com ranks Ericson as the 243rd best prospect and 13th best guard in the nation.