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Football: Three from West Forsyth sign to Division I programs
West Forsyth seniors, from left, Alex Wilson (Stony Brook), Dylan Fairchild (UGA) and Daba Fofana (Navy) signed Wednesday at Rosati's Pizza and Sports Pub. - photo by David Roberts

Dylan Fairchild calls the 2020 season the most fun he's ever had on a football field. 

Of course, West Forsyth captured the Region 6-7A championship, then beat Meadowcreek and North Gwinnett in the playoffs, and reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 2011.

For Fairchild, it meant lining up at guard, left tackle, defensive end, nose guard, outside linebacker and fullback. In fact, he came inches from scoring a touchdown during West's win against Denmark. 

"I actually used to be a running back, so I was having fun there just getting a little bit of yards," Fairchild said. "I should have scored a touchdown. I should have scored, but it is what it is. I had a great time. Outside linebacker, you can just go headhunt kids. It's awesome."

Fairchild, who signed to play football at the University of Georgia, was one of three West seniors who signed their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday at Rosati's Pizza and Sports Pub, joining Alex Wilson and Daba Fofana.

Fofana signed with the United States Naval Academy after leading the Wolverines in rushing the past two seasons. 

Fofana ran at a record-setting pace before tearing his ACL against South Forsyth, ending his year six games into the season. Still, Fofana amassed 708 yards and eight touchdowns on 128 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown against South despite the injury.

"I of course wanted to be out there playing with all of the people that I bled with," Fofana said, "but being able to help coach and give pointers to the younger kids and the younger running backs, that just gave me a different perspective of how coaches see things. It'll help me and it helps me be a better football player."

Fofana did set the school's single-season record for longest punt average with 41.7 yards per kick. It broke the record Fofana set last season of 36.5 yards per punt.

 Fofana, who estimates he could enter college as a sophomore because of an abundance of AP credits, said Navy's high academic standards drew him to the university.

"They were an academically rigorous school and they had a really good football team and good program that could help me achieve my dreams — get to the NFL, go to med school and everything that I want," he said.

Alex Wilson signed to kick for Stony Brook University after a senior season that saw him convert 6 of 12 field goals, including a 50-yarder against Cartersville. He made 9 of 10 kicks as a junior and drilled a 46-yard FG against Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.).

"Kind of like here, they've embraced me; great family atmosphere, great coaches," Wilson said. "I can't wait to become a Seawolf. It's just an overall great program, and I feel like that's where God wants me to be."

Wilson missed a handful of games this season because of an injury on his planting ankle that was traced to overuse.

Wilson returned in time to kick against Grayson in the third round of the Class 7A playoffs, a 61-yarder that tumbled into the end zone for a touchback. 

West head coach Dave Svehla pointed out during the ceremony that Stony Brook opens the 2021 season against the University of Oregon at Autzen Stadium, but Wilson isn't fazed.

"I'm excited. I feel like I do better with more people watching," he said. "Now I've got to go to Stony Brook and earn the starting slot. That's my goal, is to really work hard this offseason and be able to start on that game."

Despite signing early, Fairchild said he plans to stick around for wrestling season and is currently cutting weight.

Fairchild is the reigning Forsyth County News Wrestler of the Year after capping a 47-0 season with a Class 7A state championship at 285 pounds.

"It was definitely tough," he said. "I was thinking about not doing it and leaving early for a second, but I couldn't see me not wrestling. Even at college, I don't know what it's going to feel like to not wrestle. I think I made the right decision for me. You only get this one more time, so I'm happy with the decision that I made."

Fairchild, considered a four-star offensive guard by 247Sports, is part of UGA's 2021 class that ranks third in the nation and second in the Southeastern Conference.

"I think all of us in the 2021 class are all focused on that one goal — to pretty much take over and be national champions," Fairchild said. "Just talking to Brock (Vandagriff) and talking to some of the other guys like Warren Ericson, who is already there, talking to those guys, I can feel the urgency, like, 'Come on. Let's go. We can really do something here.' I want to be elite, and in my opinion, I don't think there's a better school where I can do that."