Terry Allen of Banks County rushed for more than 8,000 yards in a 10-year NFL career. Until Jamal Lewis came along, Allen had the most NFL rushing yards of any former Georgia high school player.
Odell Thurman of Monticello is another former NFL player from the current Region 8-AA schools. He was an all-SEC linebacker and a second-round NFL pick.
While both made first-team all-state, neither was the single most accomplished high school player from this region. Three more recent players were better for longer at their high school alma maters.
One was probably Marteze Waller of Putnam County. He ran for more than 6,000 yards at Putnam County and another 3,000 at Fresno State. In Putnam history, Waller narrowly edged Eatonton legend Brent Cunningham, star of the 1967 state-championship team and later a Georgia Tech standout.
But Waller was not an AJC Super 11 pick, as were Charlie Woerner of Rabun County and Mecole Hardman of Elbert County, now teammates at Georgia. Those two played their final high schools in 2015.
Hardman rushed for 4,725 yards, passed for 1,513 and got some all-state recognition for three seasons despite missing half of his junior season with an injury.
Very good, but the career of Charlie Woerner is even deeper and stronger and probably more meaningful.
Rabun County was 6-34 in the four seasons before Woerner. It was 34-13 when he was there. Woerner got his first all-state recognition as a freshman. He was a first-team pick each season after that.
Woerner’s career numbers are astounding for their volume and their versatility – 2,358 rushing yards, 2,703 receiving yards, 5,426 all-purpose yards, 67 touchdowns, 295 solo tackles (448 total), 12 interceptions and five blocked kicks. And he threw a TD pass.
“Charlie had a tremendous impact on a football program, school and community,” Rabun County coach Lee Shaw said. “He propelled Rabun County football into the records books and set the standard for giving a championship effort for all that will play for the Wildcats.”
Here are the best players in the history of the current Region 8-AA schools.
*Banks County: Terry Allen (1985)
*Elbert County: Mecole Hardman (2015)
*Monticello: Odell Thurman (2000)
*Oglethorpe County: Paul Stevens (1985)
*Putnam County: Marteze Waller (2011)
*Rabun County: Charlie Woerner (2015)
*Social Circle: Marquis Williams (2005)
Best player in school history series
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