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Sunday, Sep 24, 2017
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Blake: Telfair always a leader, never a follower

TAMPA - You could say Darreon Telfair has an old soul. If he wasn't born with it, you can believe life's lessons and his grandparents played a major part in forming it. As a child, when his mother decided to leave his grandparents' home and set out on her own, he remained with his grandparents, Colen Thomas and Mamie Telfair. During those years, he found himself being molded. He was introduced to golf, which became one of his favorite activities outside of football, and was constantly peppered with nuggets of wisdom only grandparents can provide.
"Besides God, I put my grandparents next because they're the ones who really raised me and really put good things in my head," Telfair said. "I think if I would have grown up around my other siblings, I think I'd be doing something else. I'm glad I kept the right mindset." Maintaining a level head has given Telfair a leadership role with the Blake football team. The senior, who has drawn interest from Tennessee State, wants to build on what he did as a junior for the squad. Last season, Telfair was the Yellow Jackets' second-leading receiver, snagging 16 passes for 245 yards, a 15.31 yards-per-catch average. "Growing up with them, the biggest thing they would say is always be a leader. Never be a follower," Telfair said. "I still believe in that to this day." Blake coach Harry Hubbard see's a direct correlation between what Telfair learned from his grandparents and how he carries himself on the field. "It teaches you to be disciplined, it teaches you the things you need to do, so you can be the best at what you do," Hubbard said. "He's a hard worker, so (his grandparents' lessons) played a big role." Telfair was recently stung by the Aug. 6 death of his grandfather. "He missed practice that Monday and he came to me that Tuesday and said, 'Coach, the reason I missed practice was because my grandfather died,' " Hubbard said. "He's a smiling person, but at that time he wasn't smiling. He just had the energy zapped out of him." Despite not living with his mother and siblings, he remains in regular contact with them and loves them dearly, but viewed staying with his grandparents as a much more productive path. Meanwhile, when the time comes, Telfair will undoubtedly smile when he reflects on the life lessons delivered by Colen Thomas and Mamie Telfair. Darreon Telfair admits, he's lucky to have the pair in his life. "The only reason why I say I'm lucky is because I have friends I hang with and they don't have anyone," he said. "So when I do have the little things I have, I give to them."
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