By Rob Sherrill
Moving up one spot from its early-signing period ranking, newly-crowned NCAA champion Penn State gave the Big Ten a sweep of the top three spots in WIN’s spring analysis of the top recruiting classes.
Coach Barry Davis’ Badgers and coach Tom Ryan’s Buckeyes all went 6-for-6 in their respective state tournaments to retain the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. And Ryan closed what was already a razor-thin Wisconsin margin with the biggest spring splash, four-time New Jersey state champion Andrew Campolattano (197) of Bound Brook (N.J.) High. Campolattano elected to focus on wrestling after originally making a verbal commitment to Rutgers to play football.
Penn State passed Oklahoma State for the No. 3 spot with solid performances from its November signees and a standout senior season from spring commitment Jordan Conaway (125) of New Oxford High. Originally a Liberty commitment, Conaway’s state championship and Dapper Dan Classic victory couldn’t have been more satisfying…or timely.
Wisconsin and Ohio State were the only schools with six recruits ranked in WIN’s final Top 20 individual rankings, and only the Badgers and Penn State had two No. 1 recruits. North Carolina State and Pennsylvania were next, with five ranked recruits each.
Big Ten newcomer Nebraska (No. 6) gave the conference four of the top six spots. But the Atlantic Coast Conference, which announced itself in our fall rankings, was even more impressive this time around. North Carolina State moved up to No. 5, taking the conference’s top spot. Meanwhile, Maryland, the best of four new teams at No. 17, gave the ACC five Top 25 spots. The Big Ten had six.
Other teams that made big moves: Utah Valley (to No. 9) and Arizona State (to No. 13). In addition to Maryland, Oregon State (No. 18) Oklahoma (No. 19) and Boise State (No. 20) were newcomers to the rankings. Dropping out of their fall spots: Binghamton, Chattanooga, Indiana and Northern Iowa.
Please note that these are based on what has been officially reported. We don’t have access to each school’s dozen-odd additional walk-ons. As you’ll see in our next issue, All-American lists include several wrestlers who don’t make it this high.
We had to make some hard decisions to narrow down the field, but here are some highlights of WIN’s top 25 recruiting classes for 2010-11 at press time. Their probable college weights are in parenthesis.
1. Wisconsin: Davis’ five fall headliners, four-time state champion Jesse Thielke (125-133) of Germantown High, five-time Minnesota champion Destin McCauley (149-157) of Apple Valley High, and three-time state champions Matt Kelliher (133-141) of Apple Valley, Cody Caldwell (157) of Waverly (Iowa) W.-Shell Rock High and Connor Medbery (Hwt) of Loveland (Colo.) High all won state titles easily, giving them 18. Add two more for Ryan McQuade (125) of Appleton West High, the major spring addition.
2. Ohio State: Campolattano became just the second New Jersey wrestler to win four state titles. Four of the five early signees followed suit, with Monroeville High standouts Hunter Stieber (133-141) and Cam Tessari (141-149) becoming four-time state champions and Johnni DiJulius (133) of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit High and Kenny Courts (184) of Harrisburg Central Dauphin High winning for the third time. Heavyweight Orry Elor of Pleasant Hill (Calif.) College Park High finished third in state, but so did a lot of future stars.
3. Penn State: No problem for top-ranked Morgan McIntosh (184-197) of Santa Ana (Calif.) Calvary Chapel High and Nico Megaludis (125-133) of Murrysville Franklin Regional High (Pa.), who each became three-time state champions. North Carolina 4A champions Michael Waters (125) of Mocksville Davie County High and Collin Campbell (Hwt) of Roxboro Person High each added a second state title, and Campbell was a NHSCA Senior nationals champion. Luke Frey (133-141) of Montoursville High never won state after his freshman year, but was never far away.
4. Oklahoma State: Coach John Smith’s Fab Four of November stayed that way, though an ankle injury kept Austin Ormsbee (133) of Blairstown Township (N.J.) Blair Academy from trying for a fourth National Prep title. Alex Dieringer (149) of Port Washington (Wis.) High, Zach Skates (174) of Broken Arrow High and Austin Marsden (197-Hwt) of Crystal Lake (Ill.) Central High also were winners, with Marsden becoming the first Illinois wrestler above Class A to pin his way to a state title since 1973.
5. North Carolina State: Coach Carter Jordan’s latest class is looking better all the time. All this seven-man group includes is two four-time state champions, two three-time champions, a pair of state champions and a third-place finisher, Joe Gaccione of Sussex (N.J.) High Point High. Chris Phillips (174) of Monroeville (Ohio) High and Henry Carlson (157) of Virginia Beach (Va.) Frank W. Cox High won their fourth titles and Gaccione’s High Point teammate, spring-signee Nick Francavilla (125-133), and Harrison Honeycutt (197) of Mooresville Lake Norman High, were three-time champions. Coltin Fought (125-133) of Benton High was a Senior nationals champion as well.
6. Nebraska: Jake Sueflohn (141-149) of Hartland (Wis.) Arrowhead High and Donny Longendyke of White Bear Lake (Minn.) were dominant in winning their second state titles. At the NHSCA Senior nationals, two of coach Mark Manning’s other fall recruits, New Jersey champion James Green (149-157) of Willingboro High was the Adam Frey Award winner and three-time state champion Austin Wilson (157-165) of Hastings St. Cecilia High advanced to the finals. Two-time state champion Cory Brester (184) of Howells High will try to follow in brother Craig’s footsteps at Lincoln.
7. Old Dominion: Coach Steve Martin couldn’t have asked for more from his four most prized fall signees. Senior nationals finalists Taylor Moeder (149) of Lenexa (Kan.) St. James Academy and Pete Baldwin (149-157) of Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola High won their third state titles and Robert Deutsch (125-133) of Voorhees (N.J.) Eastern High repeated in a rugged weight class. Chris Mecate (141) of Redlands East Valley High finally took California in what might have been that state’s toughest weight. Unbeaten state champion Austin Coburn (174) of Midlothian Cosby High and Josh Clark (149) of Ettrick Matoaca High, who missed his senior year with a knee injury, signed on this spring.
8. Virginia: Plenty of success for coach Steve Garland’s group, with Joseph Martinez (133) of Greeley (Colo.) West High winning his third state title, Patrick Gillen (197-Hwt) of Shelton (Conn.) High and Ethan Hayes (Hwt) of New Lebanon (Ohio) Dixie High each winning for the second time, with Gillen reaching the Senior nationals finals, and Nick Kidd (184-197) of Northfield (Mass.) N.-Mount Hermon School taking a National Prep Championships title. David Wesley (157-165) of Richmond (Va.) St. Christopher’s School was a two-time National Prep placewinner and Vince Waldhauser (165) of El Dorado Hills (Calif.) Oak Ridge High was a state runner-up for the second straight year.
9. Virginia Tech: Quantity vs. quality? With their runner-up finish in the National Duals this year, coach Kevin Dresser showed he can fill a line-up. His tandem hails from two schools: two-time state champions Nick Brascetta (141-149) and Matt Stephens (165-174) of St. Paris (Ohio) Graham High and three-time champions Lex Ozias (141-149) and Bubba Scheffel (174) of Oakland (Md.) Southern Garrett High, both Senior Nationals All-Americans — all rank high on the quality meter. Austin Gabel (184-197) of Parker (Colo.) Ponderosa High also won three state crowns.
10. Cornell: Four of coach Rob Koll’s six fall recruits were victorious this year. Bricker Dixon (125) of Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill High and Joe Rendina (133-141) of Dundee (Mich.) High won their third state titles and twin brothers Owen (174) and Craig Scott (194-197) of Palmyra-Macedon High repeated in New York. This spring, Koll also added Senior nationals champion Nahshon Garrett (125) of Chico (Calif.) High, a two-time state champion, and Jacob Aiken-Phillips (Hwt) of Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett High, fourth in the Senior Nationals after being upset in the state final.
11. Utah Valley: For coach Williams, this is anything but beginner’s luck. Jade Rauser of Townsend (Mont.) Broadwater County High ended his high school career unbeaten and twin brother Valyen added a third state titles as they will battle at 125 and 133. A pair of 157-pound recruits, fall-signee Logan Addis of Cottonwood (Ariz.) Mingus High and Napoleon Aniciete of Las Vegas (Nev.) High, are three-time state champions and Christopher Mayolo (149) of LaCenter (Wash.) High made it two. Also enrolling after completing missions are twins Chase (165) and Kyle Cuthbertson (174), each of whom won five Alabama state titles.
12. Pennsylvania: Though just two of coach Rob Eiter’s seven recruits ended their seasons with wins, he’s got to be happy. Charlie Lynch (141-149) of Severna (Md.) Archbishop Spalding High was the Outstanding Wrestler in the National Prep Championships and Mark Pinero (141-149) of Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel High won his second state title. Steve Robertson (157) of Lombard (Ill.) Montini High fell in the state finals in a battle of two-time state champions and Lorenzo Thomas (157-165) of Pittsburgh Central Catholic High and Ian Korb (174-184) of Cincinnati Elder High kept their national rankings despite falling short at state. New Jersey placewinner C.J. Cobb (141) of Williamstown High also was ranked during the season.
13. Arizona State: Fresh off an NCAA tournament that saw him crown two national champions, coach Shawn Charles continues to ride the wave with the success of his newest recruiting class. All they did was go 5-for-5, with Codey Combs (157-165) of Georgetown (Del.) Sussex Central High becoming a four-time state champion and earning Outstanding Wrestler honors. Statemate Issah Meade (174) of Camden Wyoming Caesar Rodney High, a three-time state champion, signed this spring. Jake Gentzler (125-133) of Andover (Kan.) Central High and Preston McCalmon (157-165) of LaFayette (Ga.) High also won their third state titles, and the fourth fall signee, two-time Missouri champion Blake Stauffer (174-184) of Neosho High, might have been the most impressive of all.
14. North Carolina: Two-time National Prep champion Evan Henderson (141) of Saltsburg (Pa.) Kiski School, John Michael Staudenmayer (165) of Plymouth Meeting Plymouth-Whitemarsh High and Alex Utley (174-184) of Cuyahoga Falls Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy all were state champions. Robert Henderson, Evan’s twin brother, Cameron Throckmorton (125-133) of Hanover South Western High and Nick Catalano (149) of Canonsburg Canon-McMillan High ran into the numbers game in tough weight classes. John Guzzo (157-165) of Sussex High Point High will have something to prove after not being in the state series his senior year.
15. Minnesota: He owns six state titles — only the third American high school wrestler to do so — and Logan Storley (174) of Webster (S.D.) High now owns WIN’s Junior Hodge Trophy as well. Two of Coach J Robinson’s other recruits, Brad Dolezal (157-165) of Marshfield (Wis.) High and Jordan Kingsley (125) of Apple Valley High, won their third and second state titles, respectively. The title-match loss of another Apple Valley recruit, Steven Koegh (165), was a little out of left field, though.
16. Lehigh: Class AA state champions Mason Beckman (125-133) of Greenville H.A. Reynolds High and Nathaniel Brown (174-184) of Lewisburg High took care of state tournament business as expected, and only losses to top-five studs by Chris Dinnien (125-133) of Fort Washington Germantown Academy and John Bolich (174-184) of Willow Grove Upper Moreland High prevented them from winning state titles. Liking what he’s gotten from NCAA champion Zach Rey, Santoro again ventured across the Delaware River for two-time New Jersey runner-up Jack Delia of Annandale North Hunterdon High this spring.
17. Maryland: The prime November recruit was T.J. Duncan (157-165) of Chattanooga (Tenn.) McCallie School. All he did was breeze to a fifth state title. Coach Kerry McCoy also scored with state runnerup Geoff Alexander (133) of Pittsburgh (Pa.) Shady Side Academy, Senior Nationals finalist Lou Mascola (141-149) of West Orange Seton Hall Preparatory School and two-time Delaware champion Josh Snook (165-174) of Wilmington (Del.) St. Mark’s High.
18. Oregon State: Coach Jim Zalesky raided the state’s top program, Roseburg High, for three-time state champion Seth Thomas (157-165) and state champion Drew VanAnrooy (133), also a Senior nationals All-American, last fall. He’ll get immediate help from two-time junior college champion Tyrell Fortune (Hwt) of Clackamas Community College, with three-time state champion George Swartzlender (Hwt) of Lakeview High the future at that weight. Four-time state champion Zac Cardwell (174-184) of Lowell High also signed this spring.
19. Oklahoma: Incoming coach Mark Cody inherits a recruiting class that didn’t make our fall Top 25, but quietly did the job this season. Fall recruits Cody Brewer (133) of Kansas City (Mo.) Oak Park High and Jeromy Davenport (149-157) of Sallisaw High won their fourth state titles, Daniel DeShazer (125) of Wichita Heights (Kan.) High won for the third time and Dalton Dennis (133) of St. Petersburg (Fla.) Northside Christian School and Sam Wheeler (184-197) of Copley (Ohio) High also won state.
20. Boise State: Another typical Greg Randall class: names that won’t wow you, but wrestlers that will produce wins at the next level. November signees Chris Castillo (149-157) of Zillah (Wash.) High and Casey George (141-149) of Lewiston High won their fourth and third state titles, respectively. But it’s the two state signees that put this class squarely in the Top 25: two-time champion Taylor West (157-165) of nearby Boise Borah High, impressive in his unbeaten senior season, and Scotty Bacon (174) of Corona (Calif.) Santiago High, third in a loaded 160-pound class.
21. Purdue: So…did coach Scott Hinkel land a 5-for-5 class last fall? He sure did. Drake Stein (184) of Princeton High won his second title and twins Doug (149-157) and Chad Welch (157) of Newburgh Castle High won at 152 and 160, respectively, with Chad adding a Senior Nationals title. Meanwhile, Rusty Maness (141) of Point Pleasant High won his fourth West Virginia title and Danny Sabatello (125-133) of Lincolnshire (Ill.) Stevenson High also repeated. California runner-up Preston Quam (184-197) of San Clemente High signed on this spring.
22. Central Michigan: Three-time Pennsylvania runnerup Zach Horan (125-133) of Nazareth High became state champion, and Joey Kielbasa (149-157) of Crystal Lake (Ill.) Central High won his third title. The only cloud in the Chippewas’ silver lining was a season-ending knee injury that prevented Devin Pommerenke of Rogers City High from winning a third Michigan state title. Luke Smith (141-149) of Wheeling High, who took his first Illinois title with a dominating third period, is a key spring signee.
23. Iowa State: Coach Kevin Jackson lost perhaps his top fall recruit, two-time California state champion Nick Pena. But Tanner Weatherman (174-184) of Huxley Ballard High, who continues his family’s Cyclone connection, became a three-time state champion Bo Schlosser (141-149) of Bettendorf High was a National High School All-American. Jackson’s spring haul included three multi-time state champions: three-time champion Shayden Terukina (141) of Honolulu (Hawaii) Kamehameha School and two-time champions Logan Molina (165-174) of Lincoln (Neb.) Northeast High and Quean Smith (Hwt) of Highland Park (Mich.) High.
24. Stanford: Four-time National Prep champion Evan Silver (125) of Blair Academy and two-time Illinois champion Michael Sojka (197) of Winnebago High, one of the reasons the state’s 215-pound class was loaded this year, ended their seasons impressively. So did Alex Paraschuk (141) of Fort Myers Riverdale High, a state champion, and a pair of spring commitments, state champion Josh Lauderdale (141-149) of Nine Mile Falls (Wash.) Lakeside High and two-time Tennessee champion Alex Manley (133-141) of Chattanooga Baylor School, who added “NHSCA Senior Nationals All-American” to his resume.
25. Cal Poly: The California state tournament being what it is, had coach John Azevedo gotten victories from all five early recruits, this class might be in the top five. All five were state placewinners, though, and three making the top three. Cody Tow (125-133) of El Dorado Union Mine High and Justin Lozano (174-184) of Selma High, a three-time state placewinner, were state finalists and Damien Arrendondo (149) of Clovis Buchanan High was third in state.