JEFFERSON’S veteran defense won’t have to wait long for its first major assignment.
The Dragons will have their hands full against one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits — Rabun County junior Charlie Woerner — when the Dragons open the season Friday against the visiting Wildcats.
“Everybody knows about Charlie Woerner, who could be one of the top prospects in the nation for the class of 2016,” Dragon coach Ben Hall said.
The 6-5, 200-pound Woerner, who is being courted by a host of power conference schools, “plays just about every position on the field,” according to Hall. The four-star recruit, who holds offers from Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Tennessee, Duke and Florida, is simply listed as an “athlete” and defensive back on the school’s roster.
Woerner — the 2013 Offensive Player of the Year in Region 8-AA —rushed for 1,112 yards last year, picked up another 417 yards receiving and totaled 23 touchdowns.
Woerner, however, earned all-state honors at cornerback where he recorded 84 tackles and five interceptions.
But Hall is quick to point out that the Wildcats are more than just Woerner.
“They have players across the board,” Hall said of the Dragons’ former Region 8-AA foes. “And all of our kids are aware of who their players are.”
Rabun County possesses a number of weapons with receiver-defensive back Alden Wright, running back Dae’ Quan Harrison, middle linebacker Tucker Williams, offensive tackle-defensive lineman Peyton Backer, senior lineman Tanner Veal and a pair of quarterbacks, Collin Grant and freshman Bailey Fisher, both of whom could play Friday.
“We’re expecting to see a two-quarterback rotation,” Hall said.
Rabun County, 8-3 a year ago, has operated out of the spread the past couple of years, but Hall is expecting more two-back sets utilizing Woerner in the backfield.
And while the Wildcat coaching staff can shift Woerner wherever they need him to create matchup problems, a defense can get burned if it develops tunnel vision on Woerner.
“They use their personnel as good anybody,” Hall said. “You have to be aware of no. 34 (Woerner) but you can’t forget about those other kids.”
Jefferson enters this game after a 26-0 scrimmage win over West Hall Thursday. The Dragons boast an experienced defense nine with nine starters from a year ago but enters Friday’s game with five new starters along the offensive line.
“It’s going to be a challenge for our guys, especially offensively,” said Hall, whose team outlasted Rabun County in a 26-20 overtime game last year.
The Rabun County game kicks off a four-game non-region slate that includes Winder-Barrow, North Hall and Commerce.
“We have a very tough non-region schedule this year,” Hall said.
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