These were the words that the three-time NYSPHSAA Large School State medalist/2x DI runner-up from Rush-Henrietta [Jayden Scott], used when announcing earlier today (via IG) his plans to pursue higher education and wrestling glory in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina.
Currently holding the #8 distinction in NYWN's updated 2022 class rankings, don't be fooled or mislead by the number next to the name of the three-time Section V titlist (3rd as a 7th grader in 2017)....His present-day ranking has more to do with inactivity/focus on other endeavors that it does a lack of productivity or a drop off in result...Because, simply put, when he has been on the mats, this is a prodigy that has answered the bell and taken care of business consistently throughout his extended varsity career!
In fact, his resume taken as a whole, if not for his time away from the world's oldest and greatest sport during the better part of 2021, a VERY compelling argument could/would be waged that he is the top overall in-state prospect in the senior class [an honor he previously owned not long ago].
The above were the sentiments shared by national wrestling journalist, Willie Saylor, who regarded the future Tar Heel as the #31 recruit on the latest installment of his 2020 big board!
"One Scott stud certainly deserves another" might become a popular phase on the campus of UNC as Jayden now joins an incoming class built by Heels' Head Coach/2008 NCAA DI Champ/2012 Olympic Bronze medalist, Coleman Scott, that already features the likes of the #38 [Cole Hunt] and #48 [Noah Pettigrew] blue chippers!!!
He will also be reunited with former G2/Garage club mate, Lachlan McNeil, who was a centerpiece of the 2020 class after winning Super 32 and then following it up with a Prep National crown during his swan song campaign on behalf of Wyoming Seminary...McNeil's younger brother, Gregor, was a 2019 NYS DI State champ for Hilton.
Today's news is not just a win for UNC, it is also a victory for wrestling in general as there were many who were quietly concerned that Scott might be leaning towards the gridiron in college after a monster performance last spring as a running back must have attracted attention from football coaches!
Per a top-5 released on October 20th, there was not a single bad option among the contenders...But ultimately UNC beat out Missouri, the U.S. Naval Academy, Lehigh, and Michigan for the services of Scott!
In three trips to the state capital for the New York State Federation Championship tournament, Scott has compiled a record of 11-3, with all of the blemishes coming at the hands of a past, defending, or future titlist/runner-up...
A phenom from the very day of his debut at Times Union in 2018, the young gentleman whose school refers to themselves as the Royal Comets, soared to stardom like one as an 8th grader, when he knocked off a gauntlet of heavy hitters on his way to the first of two state silver medals...
Seeded 7th at 106 pounds, Scott's journey to the state finals berth commenced with a collision of junior high standouts, as he bested current #1 2022 prospect/2021 Journeymen State champ, Kole Mulhauser (Central Square; committed to Princeton) by a narrow 7-6 decision....As a follow-up, he added a 3-2 ultimate tiebreaker win in the quarterfinals against Port Chester's Ivan Garcia [went on to be a four-time DI placer; 5-5-4-6 from 2017-2020] to close out day #1....He then rolled to a 5-3 decision versus future (2019) State runner-up/4x state medalist, Josiah Encarnacion (Wantagh; now at UVA) in the semis....His bid to put the exclamation on the Cinderella story came one glass slipper short however, as he dropped a 3-2 decision to then returning state runner-up/eventual 3x placer, Terry Adams (Monsignor Farrell).
In his second act on South Pearl Street, Scott will fall short of reaching Saturday night at 120 pounds, but was still outstanding, knocking off Marco Vespa (3x medalist for Monroe-Woodbury) and [Ivan] Garcia by respective scores of 5-1 and 3-2 en route to an impressive 3rd...His lone loss occurred in the semifinal round when was on the bitter side of a 3-2 UTB decision to the previous year's 4th place shower, Sean Carter (North Babylon)...Carter was a SoCon Champion/NCAA DI National Qualifier for Appalachian State last season, putting the loss in perspective ala 20/20 hindsight
In 2020, he was back on center stage, posting 7-1, 15-5-, and 5-4 triumphs against Matt Romano (Valley Central), Ryan Forrest (Hamburg), and 2020 State 4th/present NCAA DI starter for LIU, Drew Witham (Corning)...But again, the individual hardware was not in the cards as he lost a hard fought 4-2 decision in the 132-pound finale to ESM's Zach Redding (4x NYS placer/2x champ; 2021 NCAA DI Qualifier for Iowa State)...
Having yet to stand on the top step, it goes without saying we will be seeing a motivated individual in 2021-2022
Of the many unfortunate setbacks caused by the COVID19 pandemic, one is that as a New York wrestling enthusiast, you could not help but feel cheated out of what was shaping up to be a magical junior year for Scott...
Limited to just local competition in 2021, if you rewound to months earlier, every indication was that last season was going to be one for the ages...
Competing in both of the premier scholastic warm-up event on the fall calendar---The 2020 Grappler Fall Classic and the 2020 Super 32, Scott tallied a mind-blowing 12-2 record, capturing the crown at the former and seizing a strong 7th (losses only to 1st and 3rd) at the latter!!!
Culminating a 6-0 weekend at GFC by beating the current #8 ranked wrestler in the nation/2021 Florida State titlist/2019 Fargo U16 FS 6th, Jack Crook (committed to Harvard) in the 140-pound Elite division finals by 10-5 decision, this was one of a handful of very solid wins be earned in Myrtle Beach a little over a year ago.
In addition to the conquest of the Floridian, he also toppled another former (2019) NHSCA National titlist/2019 Fargo All-American, when he won a 3-1 sudden victory decision over 2018 California State 5th, Jayden Gomez.
Complementary performances came in the earlier rounds in the form of 3-2 decision over 2017 NYS DI 3rd, Myles Griffin (Jamesville-Dewitt before relocating to Florida), a doubling up (10-5) of 2021 Journeymen NYS 7th/2021 NHSCA Junior 7th, Jack Roszko (Manhasset), and an 18-8 major decision versus 2x Michigan placer, Kyle White...
His map to top-8 at Super 32 proved to be even more loaded!
Three of his six wins in Greensboro coming over wrestlers that currently have a # adorning their names, Scott fired out of the gates with four consecutive victories, including an 8-3 decision in the round of 32 against Joseph Sealey (#5 @152/2021 NC State Champion/2021 Super 32 runner-up) and a 3-2 nailbiter over Jake Niffenegger (#20 @138; 2x Ohio State runner-up; 2021 NHSCA Jr. runner-up; 2018 USAW Cadet FS 4th), to reach the quarterfinals...
After a 3-2 loss to the eventual champion [Georgian, Caden McCrary) in the championship round of 8, Scott rebounded to split his last four appearances of the weekend, beating three-time state champion (2x in Missouri; 2021 in Oklahoma), Teague Travis (now wrestling for Oklahoma State), 7-6 in the blood round, before posting a 6-2 decision over Kelvin Griffin (#17 @145; 2021 National Prep Invitational runner-up (6th in 2020, 8h in 2019); 2021 NHSCA Jr. National Champion) in the 7th place bout...In the middle of these triumphs was a 3-1 loss to 3rd place finisher, Hunter Garvin (Iowa).
Even though we will never know what the rest of 2021 had in store for the gifted Section V standout, these glimpses of brilliance is all the credence you need to know that the best awaits him, both in 2022 and beyond!