There’s no question Julian Allen proved he could be a difference maker in his first season as a tight end for Southern Mississippi as he hauled in 19 receptions for 281 yards and a touchdown during the 2016 campaign.
Allen’s younger brother, Jaden, is hopeful he can make a similar impact at the Division I level. Jaden Allen, who is also a tight end, will get that opportunity as he received a scholarship offer from Utah State in mid-March and announced his commitment to the Aggies last Saturday on Twitter.
“It means everything,” Allen told The Herald Journal. “This is what I worked for all my life. And to have an opportunity like this, is a true blessing.”
Allen, who is wrapping up his junior year at Washington Township (New Jersey) High School, also has scholarship offers from fellow Group of 5 programs Navy and Louisiana Lafayette, plus several FCS teams. What ultimately gave USU the advantage over some of these other programs?
“The school and the facilities are absolutely beautiful,” Allen said. “The staff has shared the offensive philosophy with me and it’s perfect for my skill set.”
The son of Tracy and Rob Allen started on both sides of the ball for the Minutemen as a sophomore and junior, and earned second-team all-conference accolades as a junior. No. 1 has also been an impact performer for Washington Township as an edge rusher.
Statistics from Washington Township’s 2019 season are not available on maxpreps, with the exception of two games, but Allen did catch seven passes for 47 yards and a TD in the Minutemen’s 41-22 victory over Eastern.
In 10 games as a sophomore, Allen recorded 39 tackles and finished with 96 yards on nine receptions, according to stats available on maxpreps.
Being a well-rounded athlete is one of the biggest strengths Allen asserted he will bring to the Aggies.
“My versatility for sure (in) being able to play different roles at the tight end position,” Allen said. “Whether that’s being used as an (H-back), being used on the line as a blocker, or being in the slot or outside, I can do it all.”
The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder is looking forward to his senior year and has a goal of being “a leader on the football field.” Allen was going to compete on the track & field team this spring, but football is definitely his primary focus.
“Between weight lifting, and seven-v-seven, (football) pretty much keeps me busy all year round,” said Allen, who thanked his parents and two siblings by names, plus a couple coaches by name, in his Twitter post announcing his commitment to USU. “I was going to run hurdles this year for track before the pandemic hit and canceled all spring sports.”
Allen has learned a lot from his older brother over the years. Julian Allen was a junior college standout, transferred to Southern Mississippi for his final two seasons of eligibility and participated in rookie mini-camps on a tryout basis with a pair of NFL teams — the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Browns ended up signing Allen, who was eventually placed on the injured list and released shortly before the regular season started. Julian Allen was playing for the Dallas Renegades of the XFL this spring before play was halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the league ultimately folded last month.
“He’s taught me a great work ethic,” Jaden Allen said of his brother. “Training with him for the past year has not only made me physically stronger, but also mentally prepared for the day-to-day grind that it takes to play at the highest level.”
USU doesn’t recruit in the New Jersey area very often, but the Aggies reached out to Allen through social media, and he quickly developed a good relationship with several coaches.
“Through social media, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire,” Allen said. “From there on, coach (Bodie) Reeder (USU’s offensive coordinator) reached out and I began to get recruited by the entire offensive staff.”
Wide receiver Ronald Butler is believed to be the last USU football player from The Garden State. Butler, who is from Jersey City, was a junior college transfer who spent his final two seasons with the Aggies and graduated in the fall of 2014.