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High school football: Passion to be successful on the field, academically have both driven Chestatee's Jeronimo Marin to fruitful senior season
Jeronimo Marin
Chestatee defensive end Jeronimo Marin (55) chases the Union County quarterback during the game Sept. 3, 2021 in Gainesville. Photo courtesy Robert Hernandez

Jeronimo Marin’s success on the football field is equal parts hard work and having good role models in his life. 

As willing as the Chestatee High senior linebacker was to please his coaches on the field and maximize the program’s potential, Marin was also reliant on a good family support system. 

The end result was an accolade-heavy senior season for Marin, who recently was tabbed Region 8-4A Defensive Player of the Year, after recording a team-high 102 tackles and 11 sacks in 2021. 

Now, Marin is also beginning to sift through his future college opportunities for football, which included receiving an offer Monday from Berry College.

“I was in shock when I found out I was defensive player of the year,” Marin said. “It felt great to have all my hard work pay off.” 

At 6-feet tall and about 200 pounds, Marin is considered undersized in the world of defensive ends, so he won’t be getting looks from bigger and more prominent Division-I programs. 

However, he makes up for it in effort, War Eagles coach Shaun Conley said. 

To get an award of this nature, Marin had to beat out players from Jefferson, North Oconee and Flowery Branch, among other talented schools in Region 8-4A. 

“Jeronimo has a non-stop motor on the field,” Conley said. “To get Defensive Player of the Year, in the region we play in, speaks volumes for his play and production.”

Not only was Marin highly productive on the field, but he also ushered in a culture shift with the War Eagles’ program that went 3-7 in 2021, after going winless the previous season. 

One of Marin’s best games this season was when he caused constant disruptions and had numerous tackles for a loss in a 23-21 loss on a last-season field goal against North Hall. The War Eagles’ relentless defensive end recorded a safety late in the game, putting them ahead with only a few minutes left on the game clock. 

“(Jeronimo) has a tremendous work ethic,” said his 40-year-old brother Paul, who was on hand to watch that particular game, visiting from where he resides in the suburbs south of Chicago. “He’s pretty soft spoken, but very, very focused.”

Marin’s effort, according to Conley, also kept Chestatee in the game until late, before losing 30-20 to Flowery Branch. 

Ever since he started playing football, at age 5, Marin knew one day he wanted to play college football. 

Thanks to remarkable talent on the football field and strong academic standing (3.8 GPA), he’ll likely have even more opportunities before it’s time to sign in the spring. 

Marin is a student with the Ivester Early College, through Lanier Tech, and has already knocked some of his college core classes out of the way, with more planned this spring. 

One day, Marin aspires to possibly work in either finance or health care. 

However, his favorite activity right now is pressuring quarterbacks and hitting ball carriers. 

This spring, Marin also plans on playing soccer for the War Eagles. 

Athletic success runs in the family for Marin, who has five older siblings. 

His oldest brother, Oscar Jr. was good at baseball, while Paul was a talented basketball player who tried his hand as a walk-on for Georgia in the early 2000s. 

Another brother, Oliver, was skilled at basketball, gymnastics and dancing, Paul said. 

He also had a stellar example at home from his parents, mother Lina and father Oscar Marin Sr.

In fact, Jeronimo was the first in his family to play football. 

And he’s done just fine at blazing his own path. 

After playing developmental football in the Chestatee feeder programs, Marin started right away and flourished as a four-year starter for the War Eagles. 

By the time he was a junior, Marin had developed into one of the top players at his position in Hall County. 

In 2020 against Madison County, Marin had a four-sack night against Madison County, which helped him set high expectations for his senior season. 

And those goals Marin made for himself, he accomplished them all and left a lasting legacy with the Chestatee program. 


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