Whether Georgia or TCU wins the College Football Playoff National Championship, West Forsyth will be celebrating. The Wolverines have graduates on both teams, including four on the Bulldogs.
The contingent of West Forsyth players in Athens — Oscar Delp, Dylan Fairchild, Cooper Johnson and Drew Southern — will be hoping to lead the Bulldogs to a second straight title. On the other side, WFHS Class of 2019 alum Abraham Camara will look to help the Horned Frogs capture their first championship since the 1930s.
“It’s awesome for the West community; it’s awesome for Forsyth County,” Wolverines head coach Dave Svehla said. “I’m really excited. It’s one of those deals where — no matter how the game ends up — West High School wins. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”
All four of the local Bulldogs are still considered freshmen. Fairchild and Southern graduated in 2021 and redshirted last fall. Delp and Johnson joined the program as part of the '22 recruiting class.
“It’s a big source of pride for our school, because a lot of the people around here grew up Georgia fans,” Svehla said. “… They love the football program. They love being a part of it. They love fulfilling their role — whatever their role might be.”
With Georgia's abundance of talent on the roster at every position, Delp is the only local to have seen extensive playing time this season. The 6-foot-5 tight end has hauled in five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown, while appearing in 12 of 14 games.
Delp received an increased number of reps in the Peach Bowl semifinal game, filling in for the injured Darnell Washington.
“I sent him a text and told him I was proud of him for being prepared, because you never know what’s going to happen," Svehla said of Delp. "In their most important game of the year, I thought he played a pretty big role.”
If Washington is unable to play in the championship game, which is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN, Delp could see even more time on the field. While the 2021 Forsyth County News Offensive Player of the Year signed with the Bulldogs as the No. 2 tight end in the country, it's still impressive that he already has carved out a role within one of Georgia's most talented position groups.
“I don’t think it means you’re not competitive if you decide to go some place where the room is less crowded where you think you might get to play earlier, that’s just human nature,” Svehla said in discussing Delp. “For a guy to choose a room that is pretty crowded and has a ton of talent in it — maybe the most talented room in the country at that position — Oscar is confident and has a lot of belief in himself. I know he believes that he can at least go in and compete.
“He’s not afraid to go in, show the coaches what he can do and let the chips fall where they may. He was never really turned off by the fact that their tight ends were so good. In fact, it might have been a draw for him. When you get a room like that with a lot of attention and a lot of notoriety, if you can break through and get on the field, you get to enjoy the spoils of that.”
Svehla recently completed his third season at West Forsyth, meaning he didn't get a chance to coach Camara. However, some assistant coaches who are still around from the previous regime only have positive things to say about the TCU defensive back.
“Abe is a great success story," Svehla said. "He’s found a role at TCU, and he’s been really, really good in that role. I didn’t have the opportunity to coach him personally, but the coaches who are here (who did) speak so highly of him as a person."
Camara signed with Coffeyville Community College in Kansas and spent two years with the Red Ravens. During that time, the 6-foot, 190-pounder developed into the top-ranked JUCO safety in the country.
“Junior colleges are getting better and better players, because some really good players are having a hard time finding a home due to COVID, the extra year of eligibility, the transfer portal and all of those things,” Svehla said. “… Kudos to Abe for taking that route, sticking with it, getting better and playing at a level that got him noticed.”
In 2021, Camara saw playing time in eight games for TCU but only recorded a pair of tackles. This year, though, the junior has racked up 50 tackles and broken up five passes.
Against SMU, Camara recorded his first career interception. He added a forced fumble against Oklahoma. In the CFP semifinal victory over Michigan, Camara posted six tackles — third-most on his team.
Now, he'll have the opportunity to possibly tackle another Wolverine, well, former Wolverine in the title game.
“I know that it’s happened before, but I would think that it’s not real common,” Svehla said of the matchup. “... Part of that is a tribute to the players and coaches in Forsyth County. I’ve always believed some of our kids get overlooked a little bit, but you can’t overlook them when there’s going to be five of them on rosters in the national championship game.”
They are far from the only Forsyth products playing for major college football programs.
Lambert's Kojo Antwi just completed his first season at Ohio State, which fell to Georgia on a missed field goal at almost the exact stroke of the new year in Atlanta. West Forsyth graduates Eli and Jake Huggins played for Kansas State, which handed Camara and TCU their only loss to date in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Additionally, the current group of seniors in the county include Michigan signee Nathan Efobi of South Forsyth, Tennessee signee Sham Umarov of Denmark, and a pair of future Clemson players in Denmark's Dee Crayton and West Forsyth's Peyton Streko.
Most, if not all, of those players will be tuning in Monday to see which former local standout(s) will be crowned a national champion.
“I think the profile of Forsyth County football is growing," Svehla said, "and this certainly will not hurt it.”
Svehla attended the Peach Bowl at nearby Mercedes-Benz Stadium but won't be making the trip to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for the finals.
Instead, he'll get to enjoy wings and nacho dip in the comfort of his living room, with only his dogs possibly disrupting his viewing experience.
“I’m just going to watch it as a football fan,” Svehla said. “I don’t have a particular allegiance to either team. My allegiance is to the kids we’ve coached. Since we have kids on both teams, we’ll wake up Tuesday morning and a West Forsyth kid is going to be a national champion, regardless of how it goes.”