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Dominating on defense: Here's a look at the top 10 players on that side of the ball in Hall County
North Hall football 2021
North Hall's Jeremiah Telander (1) and Jarrett Latty (54) go in for a stop against Redan on Aug. 6, 2021 in a preseason game in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

North Hall’s Jeremiah Telander is a once-in-a-generation talent on defense. 

Physical, fast and typically first to the football, the junior Telander has a handful of Division-I offers on the table. 

And, after the way he’s playing in 2021, that list is certainly going to grow exponentially. 

At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Telander checks all the boxes for being a stud linebacker, even improving noticeably since earning Region 7-3A Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, Trojans coach David Bishop said.

Through seven games, Telander has 80 tackles (15 1/2 for a loss), 1 1/2 sacks and a pair of interceptions for North Hall (5-2, 3-0 Region 7-3A).  

“Jeremiah has a passion for the game of football and wants to take in as much as he can,” Bishop said. 

Already, Telander has scholarship offers from Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Memphis and Kansas. 

North Hall’s middle linebacker has also been on campus to visit the University of Georgia, as recently as the game against Arkansas on Oct. 2, even though no offer has come from the Bulldogs. 

According to Bishop, Telander’s greatest improvement is his ability to understand reads, in addition to the stout linebacker’s physical development. 

“His game is much, much better,” Bishop said. “He’s reading stuff so fast out there on the field.”

Right now, Telander is the most prolific defensive player in Hall County. 

However, there’s lots of other good ones, too. 

Here’s a breakdown of the Top 10 defensive players this season (in alphabetical order):

1. Stacy Hopkins, Linebacker, Gainesville: Athletic linebacker who has 41 stops for Gainesville.  

2. Jarrett Latty, Defensive end, North Hall: Powerful senior run stopper with 50 tackles and 13 tackles for a loss. 

3. Khaliq Maddox, Defensive tackle, Gainesville: Run-stuffing defensive tackle for the Red Elephants who has 37 tackles (5 for a loss) and 3 1/2 sacks. 

4. Jeronimo Marin, Defensive end, Chestatee: Leading tackler for the War Eagles who has 51 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and six sacks. 

5. Brayden Nance, Linebacker, Cherokee Bluff: Four-year starter for the Bears who leads the team with 33 tackles, three sacks, eight tackles for a loss and has forced four fumbles. 

6. Tami Odatula, Defensive tackle, Riverside Military: Powerful 265-pound run stopper who has 35 total tackles (23 solo), 13 tackles for a loss and three sacks in first five games for the Eagles. 

7. Sam Stribling, Defensive back, Cherokee Bluff: Four-year starter for the Bears with 24 tackles in 2021 who his coach calls the ‘engine of the team’ on the field.

8. Jeremiah Telander, Linebacker, North Hall: County’s leading tackler with 80 stops and 15 1/2 tackles for a loss. 

9. Sam Westbrook, Defensive end, Flowery Branch: Even though he’s only been active for four games, Westbrook has 20 tackles, 11 quarterback pressures and a pair of sacks. 

10. Jaden White, Defensive back, West Hall: Rangy cornerback who has 39 solo tackles and 25 assists with three pass breakups for the Spartans. He’s also caused a pair of fumbles. 

Friday's schedule

Cherokee Bluff vs. Lumpkin County

Chestatee at Madison County

East Hall vs. North Oconee

North Hall vs. Gilmer

West Hall at Dawson County

Flowery Branch vs. Cedar Shoals

Gainesville vs. South Forsyth

Johnson at Apalachee

Lakeview Academy at Mount Pisgah

Lanier Christian at People's Baptist

BYE: Riverside Military

Regional events