A look into the 2014-15 Hawkeye recruits. There is a lot of wrestling to be done this summer and the reality is that all of these guys probably won’t see any varsity action next year. What we do have to look forward to is a summer of these guys competing (at FILA, Burke competed at senior nationals, etc.), and then watching them compete at the open tournaments at the beginning at next year. Brands usually likes to reward a couple true freshman with a spot at the Midland tournament, so keep an eye on these guys.
(Photo from TheGuillotine.com. Photo by Jeff Beshey)
Starting out with the smallest, we have Minnesota state champion Seth Gross. Gross enters the Iowa program enters the program as a potential 133 or 141 wrestler. I got a moment to get to know Seth over an interview this past week.
Q. Seth, I was wondering what weight you plan on competing at this summer as you gear up for your first year at Iowa?
Seth: For the FILA junior tournaments that I compete in this summer I am planning on wrestling 66kg, which is about 145. Then for Fargo this year I’ll be competing at 138 or 145.
Q: What weight would you like to compete at next year?
Seth: I plan on wrestling 141.
Q: What wrestler(s) are you most excited to work with in the Iowa room?
Seth: There’s a lot of guys that I’m excited to wrestle with. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun knowing there is so many guys in the room that are going to push me to be better each and every day. (Ross: Just saying I love that answer)
Q: You and fellow recruit Logan Ryan are pretty close in weight, have you ever competed or drilled against each other?
Seth: We have wrestled once a few years back in Freestyle! (Flo video here)
Q: Have you spoken with any of the incoming recruits?
Seth: I have spoken to Logan (Ryan) quite a bit, and then I know Sam Stoll pretty well so I talk to him a lot too.
Q: Finally I am excited to see you and your aggressive style in an Iowa singlet. I am curious, who do you compare yourself to or who have you tried to model yourself after?
Seth: I’m not really sure who I would compare myself to, but I just go out there every match and push the pace and do whatever it take to win.
Don’t worry Seth, it’s okay if you don’t know who you would compare yourself to. I feel pretty confident a few years from now, we might be asking, “Who is going to be the next Seth Gross?”. Iowa needs a room full of guys that like Seth who ‘”go out and push the pace and do whatever it takes to win”. I think Gross has the chance to be something special when he steps into the lineup.
Jake Marlin is in my rookies post because he missed a large chunk of his redshirt season. When he finally did hit the mat in February for competition outside of the room, he only wrestled three matches going 2-1 losing to a Northwestern JR (Jameson Oster) 5-7 in SV. Marlin was a four time Iowa state champion and a top 50-ish recruit out of high school so he has the potential there. Oddly enough like Iowa’s current 141 starter, we didn’t see enough of him in his first season to know what we have. Hopefully Marlin gets some good competition in early in the season and we can start to develop this picture of what we think Marlin can be. Given Dziewa’s inconsistencies on the mat this past season the hope would be that Marlin can be a future upgrade. Since the 2014-15 season will be his first real season of wrestling I would imagine that hoping he can replace Dziewa for an immediate upgrade at this weight is out of the question. There is also the potential that Marlin grows into 149 pounder, though I would still think he will stay at 141 where he will have his best chance at cracking the lineup long term.
Logan Ryan is the final lightweight that Iowa brought in and he projects as a 141 pounder. I hope Ryan competes his first season as a 141 so Hawk fans can see how he matches up with Jake Marlin (and Seth Gross). I have not seen enough of Ryan in high school to know how his skills will translate into college. I feel fairly confident that he could be a good prospect for a future starter in the lineup, but I would be curious if he could beat Marlin to see if he is good enough to be a D1 starter as a freshman (2015-16). My instincts tell me that he is similar to Iowa’s 174 Alex Meyer. To me Meyer would have been a decent wrestler this season, but not near the level of elite. Meyer could have comfortably sat somewhere around the 15 spot in the rankings had Iowa not had Mike Evans. Ryan is along that same vein, and would probably be a fringe ranking guys out of the gate, but as a sophomore and as he get’s more matches under his belt he could develop into a very solid wrestler. Maybe not elite, but a very solid contributor.
In a previous interview, Tony Hager was able to get in contact with Logan Ryan and Tagen Lambotte and ask them a few questions.
“I’ve been a Hawk fan my whole life, I feel at home there, it’s one of the greatest college wrestling programs of all time, the coaching staff and wrestlers there are phenomenal at what they do, their style of wrestling fits mine well, and Carver Hawkeye Arena is full of the greatest college wrestling fans in the country.. you can’t beat it,” Ryan explained.
One of the interesting things about the Iowa wrestling program is that wrestlers don’t come to Iowa for the fancy facilities — they come for the overall program. “The coaches and the wrestlers were the biggest factor in my decision, and I know they will help me reach my goals in my near future,” Ryan stated.
Asked if he could pick one wrestler on the Iowa team to drill with, he said he wanted to face the best: “I would say my brother Connor, but we usually end up in some type of fight, so I would have to go with Derek St John. He is a beast and I like the way he wrestles.”
Tagen Lambotte will most likely be a 149 once he starts takes his redshirt, but the four time Kansas state champion could see some time at 157 in his first season. 149 and 157 will be an interesting situation for Iowa as right now we don’t know if Brandon Sorensen will want the 149 or 157 spot. I believe it is contingent on what Sorensen wants to do, because he won the Midland meeting against Grothus. Lambotte looks a bit like a project recruit and I have heard some compare him to Dan Dennis in terms of his work ethic. Time will tell what kind of wrestler he will be, but he should be one to keep your eye on as he develops. One thing is for certain Iowa is looking for someone to step up and fill the 149 void, and with four time All American Derek St. John graduating, 157 needs to be filled as well.
Q: What weight are you planning on wrestling at Iowa?
Q: What was the main reason why you chose to attend Iowa?
Lambotte: The style.
Q: If you could compare your style to any past Iowa greats, who would it be most similar to?
Lambotte: No one particular, I try to pick stuff up from all of them.
Q: Who had the biggest influence on your decision to come to Iowa?
Lambotte: My brother and Coach Cody.
Q: If you had the chance to pick one wrestler on the Iowa team to drill with, who would you pick out and why?
Lambotte: Even though he’s an alum, I’d say Metcalf because he would have so much to teach me and he wouldn’t let me out easy.
Q: What do you want the Iowa faithful to know about you that they might not already know?
Lambotte: Kansan by birth, Iowan at heart.
The other middleweight Iowa brought in is Burke Paddock of New York. Paddock comes from a large family of wrestlers, in which collectively they have won over 1000 high school matches between the five brothers. His brother Ian Paddock recently finished his career at Ohio State as their starting 149 pounder. Burke is a bit bigger, winning his state title at 170 – he also finished 3rd at Senior Nationals in Virginia, competing at 160 last weekend. He has flirted in the rankings at both 160 and 170 this past season. That puts him as a projected 165 and 174. I would imagine he will split time between both 165 and 174 on his upcoming redshirt season for one reason. That reason being that currently Iowa has no blue chip to replace Nick Moore who will be a senior at 165 next year. While most enjoy a season of wrestling up a weight class, I think Paddock will want to get a few matches at 165 to test the waters a bit as it will most likely be a battle for that spot between Paddock, SR Patrick Rhoads, and SO Logan Thomsen. 165 will be another interesting weight to watch at the opens that Iowa typically sends their backups to.
Sam Stoll is the remaining recruit to mention and in a way I saved the best for last. Considered a top ten recruit overall by Intermat, Stoll comes into Iowa riding a 60-some match pinning streak. He has been unreal in the Minnesota high school ranks and I believe he notched a win over Coon while both were in high school. Stoll’s RSFR year will be the first year after Telford graduates and I fully expect him to step into the lineup over Jean-Jacques. Iowa will also have a top 40 recruit from the 2013 class Aaron Bradley who will be returning from his mission. Bradley will be coming in having taken two years off of wrestling so I would assume that he redshirts and from there who knows, but Stoll should be the starter his first season after his redshirt. We also had a quick chat with Stoll this past week:
Q: What events are you planning on competing in this summer?
Stoll: I am not sure how many tournaments I will compete in this summer. I might focus on training this offseason. For now I plan on wrestling FILA JR. Greco in Las Vegas and possibly FILA JR. World Team Trials.
Q: Where do you plan to train this summer?
Stoll: I hope to get down to Iowa City as much as possible this summer. I will do some training up here as well.
Q: What wrestler(s)/coach are you most excited to work with in the Iowa room?
Stoll: I am excited to work with coach Berhow and Telford. I believe I can learn a lot from them. (Ross: I can’t help but point out how important Berhow’s presence in the room is after this quote)
Q: Who was your favorite Hawkeye to watch, either growing up or this past season?
Stoll: I was not an Iowa fan at all growing up. I used to be a die hard Gopher fan so I didn’t know too many Iowa wrestlers. Thoughout my high school career I love to go back and watch videos of some the Iowa greats. I watched a lot of video on Royce Alger – I love how he pushed the pace and was relentless on the mat. I watched a lot of video on Lee Fullhart and Wes Hand as well. The Banach brothers, McIlravy, Chiapparelli, Joe Williams, and basically anyone I can find on YouTube.
Q: Who would you compare yourself to, or who have you tried to model yourself after?
Stoll: I am not quite sure who I would compare myself to. I believe my “style” comes from my coach Jamie Heidt. He taught me to work hard and wrestle hard on the mat.
Sam continued on to say, “Lastly I’m excited to continue my wrestling career in Iowa. I love the atmosphere the city has especially in wrestling. GO HAWKS!!”
A lot to take away from these quotes. For one it looks like you, the fans, played a major role in Stoll’s commitment. Go ahead and take a second to pat yourself on the back for creating the said atmosphere Sam wants to come compete in. Secondly, I like that he is excited to learn from Berhow and Telford, and even as a former Gopher fan he has watched video on all the Hawkeye greats. Stoll is excited to be a Hawkeye, but I think fans are even more excited to have him.
Big thanks to Tony who helped me get most of the interviews for this post. It’s pretty easy to see there is a lot to be excited for the incoming class, and we will be following their progress this summer. Don’t forget to drop you thoughts in the comments section below.