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Jeremiah Chavis “A Man Among Boys”

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Those are the words Florida Scorpions Wrestling Club Head Coach Jaime Rodriquez used to describe Jeremiah Chavis in relation to other wrestlers his age. Why is that? At just 13 years old, Chavis has already begun to separate himself from his peers. Chavis’ accolades read like a laundry list that include being a four-time Florida state wrestling champion, a three-time grand champion, a Road Warrior award winner, a Knockout Christmas Classic silver medalist, and a Super 32 gold medal qualifier among others.

If the name Chavis and wrestling sound familiar, it is because he is the son of famed WWE wrestler Chris “Tatanka” Chavis. Having begun wrestling for the World Wrestling Federation in 1990, Tatanka is currently on a legends and Hall of Fame contract with the WWE. Chris Chavis, who is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of Native Americans, is naturally very invested in his son’s future.

As part of that investment, the two have established a workout regimen for Jeremiah that prioritizes strength. While others in the profession have emphasized “technique, technique, technique,” Chris Chavis feels that when push comes to shove, the stronger wrestler will prevail. Jeremiah’s routine reflects this as he goes “as heavy as we can” for four to six reps of various free weight exercises. This has enabled the 13-year-old Jeremiah to deadlift 310 pounds and wrestle others who weigh upwards of 30 pounds heavier than himself.

“So, when you’re doing truly free weights,” said Chris Chavis, “it works your muscle more and you also get way more powerful and way stronger.” The father-son duo also reviews plans and goals for Jeremiah to strive for. One such bar they had set needed to be raised several times due to the younger Chavis’ accomplishments in IOF tournaments throughout his sixth-grade season.

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“There was eight weeks,” Chris Chavis said. “So, the goal that we wanted to set, which my son set, and we set together was number one: to do at least four tournaments… Well, as we continued and we had hit four, then a new award came out… That award would be going to anybody that would be doing at least six tournaments… and we doubled our vision and our plan, and we’d done all eight weeks.” During the season, Jeremiah was named grand champion for winning four tournaments and was later named the Road Warrior award winner for going on to win six. After emerging victorious from all eight contests, Chris Chavis knew his son was ready for the next step.

Though he was still in middle school, Jeremiah had already begun to compete against high schoolers during his fifth and six grade years. So, on the advice of Hernando High School Wrestling Head Coach David Pritz, the Chavis family agreed that Jeremiah would be best served by entering high school early. For his seventh and eight grade years, he will be attending Zephyrhills Christian Academy before joining Coach Pritz at Hernando.

While plenty of high schools are vying for the talented Jeremiah to attend their wrestling programs, the Chavis family is committed to Coach Pritz and the vision the parties share for Jeremiah’s future. Though his high school destination has been decided, it will not be long before colleges begin reaching out. Jeremiah already has his eye on some of the most prestigious wrestling institutions including the Universities of Iowa, Penn State, Michigan, and Cornell.

When asked how proud he is of what his son has accomplished so far Chris Chavis responded, “What dad or what parent doesn’t want to see their kid truly succeeding at this kind of level… What’s great about Jeremiah is he’ll go out there and be unbelievable on the mat. When he comes off the mat, he’s done, he’s just Jeremiah. And just all the kids love him because he’s just Jeremiah.”

The elder Chavis emphasizes that while they are not perfect, Jeremiah remains grounded and continues to work hard. The younger Chavis uses free time to study wrestling videos on YouTube, he writes down his own goals and is never one to talk about himself. Regardless of his accomplishments, it is that humility that endears him to others around him.

One thing that has struck Jeremiah’s father the most is how the 13-year-old is serving as a leader to other wrestlers in his age group through social media and other practices. Chris Chavis remarks how Jeremiah, who himself is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, also serves as an inspiration for all Native Americans.

“[Jeremiah’s] out there doing the hard work, living the true life. I mean you got to go out there and hustle to go get what you want to get. So, I’m very, very proud for him for how he’s affecting kids, how he’s affecting adults and last that he is Native American,” said Chris Chavis. “He’s really being a bright shining star for Native American blood.”

Jeremiah has accounts on several social media platforms including YouTube (https://youtube.com/c/JeremiahChavis), Instagram (@the.jeremiah.chavis), and Twitter (@JeremiahChavis3). Up next on the schedule for the young wrestler are regional and national events in April as Jeremiah strives for his next goal of a national championship.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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