Jeremiah Telander will forever be regarded as one of the best linebackers to play at North Hall High.
Now, he wants to see if he can add his name to the list of great players at his position at Gainesville High.
In 2022, the three-year standout and two-time Region 7-3A Defensive Player of the Year will be suiting up as a senior for the Red Elephants, officially enrolling as a student for the current winter semester that starts Wednesday.
For three years, Telander (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) built a reputation as one of the best playmakers at his position: not just in Hall County, but all of Northeast Georgia.
“This was a decision it took my family a while to decide,” Telander said. “There was a lot of second-guessing. But in the end, it’s the right decision for my future.”
Already a Division-I prospect with football scholarship offers from schools such as Tennessee, Louisville, Georgia Tech and Kansas, among others, Telander should expect that list to grow substantially after recording 137 tackles (33 for a loss) as a junior in 2021 with the Trojans.
Next season, Gainesville will be ushering in a new Student Activities Center, that its athletics director Adam Lindsey has previously stated is geared toward giving its student athletes a ‘Division-I experience.”
Currently, Gainesville is also having its new practice field under construction. The synthetic surface at the Bruce Miller practice field was put down during the Christmas holiday.
“I think with everything going on at Gainesville, they’re really building a powerhouse program,” Telander said. “It’s the start of a new tradition.”
Telander said he is eligible to move schools and play right away due to the fact that his father, Steve, lives in the Gainesville City district and will be where he resides.
One of the state’s top linebackers in the Class of 2023, Telander said he made his decision after the 2021 season ended for the Trojans in the first round of state and before Gainesville hired six-time Alabama state champion Josh Niblett as its new coach.
Gainesville’s newest middle linebacker knows that its program has been blessed in the past at that position.
The list of former middle linebackers to come out of the Red Elephants system includes Alexander Johnson (who plays for the Denver Broncos) and Devan Stringer, who had a stellar career at Appalachian State, among many others.
Even with all the new amenities at Gainesville, Telander said it was a grueling decision to make the move, one that took hours of prayer to decide.
Telander said he sat down, with his parents and now-former Trojans coach David Bishop about his decision to move schools.
“I love all my boys at North Hall,” Telander said. “I have so much respect for coach Bishop, (defensive coordinator) coach (Stuart) Cunningham. They made me the player I am today. I hope they find a new coach that’s a good fit for the program.”
Playing for Niblett was really the bonus card for Telander.
When the nationally-known coach was hired by the Red Elephants last month, Telander had already made his decision to enroll at Gainesville High.
Unfamiliar with Niblett’s name, at first, Telander did his research online and saw that he was going to be playing for a man with a background of getting players to the highest level.
“I want to go down in the history books with those other great names at Gainesville,” Telander said. “I also want to do good under coach Niblett’s name. I have a lot of good friends at Gainesville and can’t wait to get started.”
Next season, the Red Elephants will be moving down to Class 6A from the state’s highest classification.
The level of competition also played a part in the decision to move, Telander said.
“I’m ready to play against the best I can,” Telander said.
Currently, Telander is spending ‘4 to 5’ days each week with conditioning in Buford.
He also played competitively in 7-on-7 leagues.
In the spring, Telander will be competing for the Red Elephants in track and field, where he’s already established as one of the best high jumpers in the state.
In 2021, he finished third in Class 3A in the high jump.