Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry previews the next two days for Georgia Bulldog 2021 signee Dylan Fairchild at the state wrestling championships in Macon.
CUMMING, Ga. — Dylan Fairchild has the walk of a champion this week. He’s loose. Maybe even a little silly, but always confident.
“I think the difference in him and everybody else is he walks into the tournament and knows he is going to win,” his state contending teammate Ethan Rickert said this week. “Everybody else is competing for second. He’s so confident.”
There is at least the 285 pounds worth of nostalgia that also feels draped over his shoulders this week.
It should. His wrestling career comes full circle this week. Pardon me if we did not stick that pun. Fairchild will be wrestling to defend his 7A state heavyweight wrestling championship in Macon this weekend.
The 2021 Georgia Bulldog football signee is one of four members of this class that is still in high school. Fairchild had work left to do with his high school athletic career at West Forsyth High School.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pounder shed some 20 pounds from what he weighed during football season to go for his repeat Class 7A state heavyweight championship.
When an athlete like Fairchild sheds weight at his level, he avoids a lot of water. He’s shed. Then it was time to shred everything in his way this winter. The bullet points here hit hard.
- 19-0 this year with 19 pins
- He’s never gone into the second period of a match so far as a senior
- 46-0 as a junior with 46 pins
- 65-0 with 65 pins in his last two years. It is believed he has had only one match go into the second of three possible periods in his junior and senior seasons.
- The time he pinned a quality opponent in the quarterfinals of the state wrestling tournament a year ago is the stuff of legend.
- “It is just the mindset before every match that I’ve developed over the past year of an assault mentality,” Fairchild said of his senior year. “Just go out there and attack them over and over until it is over.”
It is safe to say that DawgNation hasn’t connected a Bulldog so closely to wrestling since the days of Bill Goldberg. There are years where the complete coverage of UGA recruiting and its targets takes the beat to the GHSA state track meets all over the state in the spring.
But the wrestling mats of the Centreplex in Macon? That’s a new one. It is a novel one for the 17-year-old Fairchild.
What can he be on the football field at Georgia? Well, a lot actually. He will be behind when he arrives in late May after his high school graduation. Naturally. He might need a redshirt year to catch up given that the Bulldogs have classes of All-American interior linemen ahead of him with SEC experience.
It is not a limb-breaking projection for this top 100 overall prospect to play a lot and to play very well during his time in Athens. Somewhere in the realm of Ben Cleveland to Solomon Kindley to Cade Mays feels like a sweet spot.
When an offensive lineman wrestles in high school at a state championship level, it is almost like they start their college careers standing on second base. Gifted heavyweight wrestlers usually turn out to be very good college football players.
Fairchild wasn’t rated as highly as Mays or Jamaree Salyer, but he might have been pretty close with a full senior year camp circuit evaluation. Fairchild is also an All-American, too. The very well-respected evaluators at 247Sports deem him to be the nation’s No. 2 offensive guard and No. 42 overall prospect for the 2021 cycle.
While his future in Athens is very bright, it is time to focus on one very dominating career on that mat. He’s the No. 1 heavyweight in the state of Georgia right now. Probably for a lot more states in the union, too.
He’s set to wrestle his first match of what should be four matches in the 7A bracket today. There will be two matches today and another two on Saturday. Barring a massive upset, he should be through with the bracket by mid-afternoon on Saturday.
“His style is just brutal,” Rickert said. “It is not very technical. It is just like the basics. You can’t stop the strength and the basics will win.”
Dylan Fairchild: The last time he lost a match
Fairchild owes a debt of gratitude to former Georgia state champion Tomari Fox. He was the last man to beat him on the state championship mat in Macon during his sophomore year.
Fox was also a Power 5 scholarship football player. He signed with North Carolina in the 2019 class as a 265-pound defensive end. His brother was also a scholarship player at UNC. They hail from a wrestling family.
Tomari Fox is now seen as one of the strongest players on the Tar Heels, but back then he was just a high school wrestler at Collins Hill.
Fairchild led 5-0 in that bout but faltered late. Fox took the 6-5 win but gave him two things of significant value besides the sixth loss of his sophomore year. The first was that he lit the fuse inside Fairchild.
He had trained specifically to beat him for about six weeks. He knew Fox was in his way.
“He deserved it,” Fairchild said. “It was his match. I wasn’t upset about it or mad. It was his day. I accepted it.”
The Georgia Bulldog signee hasn’t lost a match since.
“We got up and he hugged me after the match,” Fairchild said. “He said ‘Bro you are the hardest guy I have ever wrestled’ and to me that was something. I kind of looked up to him a little bit after that. We had talked after the match and it was an honor for him to say that to me. He was a guy that was just a beast. It was awesome. ”
That junior season finished up with a 51-6 record. Fairchild has gone a perfect 55-0 with 55 pins since. His career record now sits at 153-21. That includes the 15 times he lost as a freshman grappler.
“That was unheard of,” Rickert said. “Nobody starts at 285 as a freshman. They start and 225 and then go up.”
Fairchild took his lumps as a freshman. Then he has handed them out ever since.
“It was after that loss his sophomore year that he was like his mind was made up,” Rickert said. “He was like ‘I know I am going to win everything else’ and that’s what he has done.”
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The legend of Dylan Fairchild and the 5-second pin
Fairchild wrestled a grand total of 2:25 at the 7A state championship meet in 2020.
There was a brisk 30-second pin at a level where the first 30 to 45 seconds of every match is often spent tugging and locked up. The two heavies usually paw at one another probing for their openings.
The defending state champion also pinned his man in the 7A quarterfinals in five seconds.
Five. Flipping. Seconds.
As cool as that sounds, the degree of difficulty spikes even further given that Fairchild had to have his man’s shoulder on the mat two seconds into the match before the official could begin his three-second count for a pin.
Not even Siri works that fast on our iPhones.
“The guy looked scared when he was coming out to the mat, to be honest, ” Rickert said. “He was nervous. I think what happened was after he touched Dylan and felt the strength in his hands when he shook hands, he fainted. He fainted. He fell over. Dylan hopped on top of him and it was a pin.”
It is hard to tell if Rickert was joking there. Real hard. Fairchild did hit him with a club move to a knee pick.
“It looked so easy I think that [guy] was just nervous,” Rickert said.
Fairchild is so consistently dominant it doesn’t seem like a fluke. It is just how he rolls.
Reed Walker is 33-1 this year. He’s another state-contending teammate at 106 pounds.
“He mainly wins the same way all the time,” Walker said. “It is cement mixer or cradle and it is over quick.”
Walker is just a freshman. He wasn’t there to see it.
He only heard about it.
“When I heard that story from my Dad I couldn’t believe it,” Walker said. “I was just like ‘How’ does anyone do that?
When Walker lost his only match of the year, he said Fairchild took some time to encourage him after that match.
“He told me how many times he lost as a freshman and how better I was as a freshman than he was,” Walker said. “He’s a great teammate and an encourager and he told me I was probably going to win state four times.”
Fairchild had a modest view of it all. Even though a 5-second pin at the state meet is like a hole-in-one at golf or a 600-foot home run in baseball.
“Just kind of went out there then and did what I normally do,” he said. “I put myself in that mental state to go out there and attack him. ”
Club. Knee pick. Straight on his back. Pin. Just as easy as it sounds.
Fairchild looks like he could wrestle three of Walker at the same time and win, but he expressed a sincere appreciation for the young freshman.
“That guy is good,” Fairchild said this week. “Big bright future. That’s the future of this program.”
Dylan Fairchild: The big bright Bulldog future on the horizon
Fairchild was reminiscing this week. Nostalgic even. He walked off the practice mat at West Forsyth High School soaked in sweat for the last time on Thursday evening.
He’d been there for the last four years. Tracing a journey that went from the beat-up freshman to near-miss champion as a sophomore. Now, he’s a Bulldog buzzsaw.
Except he has a bag of tricks one last time this weekend with moves like a “Bulldog” and an “Alligator roll” and a “Cement Mixer” at his disposal.
He’s got the present on his mind and a bright football future still to come. Everyone else at the state meet will be focusing on a future career as a college student. Or to the working world.
Wrestling scholarships are very rare in the South. Especially a full ride. Fairchild’s athletic life will take an even bigger step from there. Nobody will compete in college in front of 93,000 every fall Saturday as he will.
That’s on his mind right now, too.
“It is surreal,” he said. “The last few days I have been looking back saying ‘Wow, this is it’ and ‘This is really it’ because I know. I’ve been counting the days of practice and everything. I love practicing. I love preparing. I love preparing to show off my skills at a big event. It is really what it is all about.”
“It is surreal doing this for doing this my entire life pretty much and as long as I can remember and then there will be that ‘this is over now’ feeling. But then having that knowing I’m ready to have the best four years of my life or best however long I am there [at UGA] is exciting. It is kind of like a blend between the two. Being not so much sad. Just kind of looking back saying ‘Wow, this is really it’ and then saying ‘This is what’s going to happen next over the next four years.’ I’m excited. I’m ready to do this and win another state championship and then mission number two.”
That mission up ahead will be having the term “champion” associated next to his name as a Bulldog.
If he does win, then his hand will be held up high. Maybe he will smile for his own personal 24-hour rule. Fairchild will think about assaulting and then putting defensive linemen on their back in Athens.
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