Let The Games Begin by tomoxnamAnd may the odds, be ever in your team’s favor..

It’s time for the highly anticipated sequel in this series, and no it’s not “Catching Fire” (another corny Hunger Games reference…). No, I am talking about the second part in examining the talent that the state of Iowa has to offer for the 2015 recruiting class. To recap last Wednesday’s article, we discussed how everyone could use Stroker, Hellickson will be a great addition to any team, Thomsen maybe a bit under the radar, and Steiert looks to be a promising “project” in the making. Also, worth noting is that Max Thomsen recently committed to UNI, which as we stated last week really isn’t all that surprising, and we hope to have more on that soon.

(As a side note, let’s remember what was said last week. While it would be nice for all of these guys mentioned below to stay in state, the reality is that they are going to take the best opportunity for their lives as they see it. Just as Iowa will pull wrestlers from states like Illinois, Minnesota, etc. They tend to return the favor sometimes.)

So today, we are going to look into the heavier recruits. What better place to start than with Iowa’s own Cadet national champion heavyweight Jake Marnin? The #2 ranked heavy by Flowrestling, Marnin has done that by destroying competition for the high school wrestling powerhouse Southeast Polk. Another thing to remember about Marnin is that he is following in a long line of very highly touted heavyweights that Iowa has produced over the past five years. To name a few, Eric Thompson (multiple NAIA champion), Cody Krumwiede (UNI heavyweight), and Austin Blythe (University of Iowa football lineman).

Marnin could easily be a great recruit at any of the three universities, though I am not sure if Iowa will be in on him. Iowa signed a top 40 recruit in Aaron Bradley two years ago. Bradley is currently on a two year mission and would technically be in the same graduating class as Marnin. Iowa also signed Greco stud Sam Stoll in this year’s class. With all of those options, signing Marnin would tie up a lot of scholarship money for just one weight class. UNI is in a similar predicament, as they recently added Adarios Jones to their squad in this recruiting class. Jones was a top ten heavyweight recruit, and I am not sure I see the fit for UNI.

However, Iowa State has sophomore Quean Smith as his competition, and that’s it. Keeping Marnin closer to home would be a huge win for Iowa State especially when you consider all of the quality upper weights in the Cyclone Wrestling Club has to offer, and how well coach Jackson has developed Kyven Gadson. It would be a good fit if he choose to stay in state.

Cash Wilcke is a wrestler who has seen his stock rise this summer as he is ranked #10 (was as high as 6) by Flowrestling at the 182 pound weight class. Wilcke started off last season by finishing second in the preseason nationals tournament in Cedar Falls after a narrow 2-1 defeat to Hoffman (also an Iowan) in the finals. He carried his success into his junior season where he went 52-1 enroute to the 2A 182 state title. This past week at the Junior duals in Oklahoma, Wilcke was on the Red Team that finished first in the Red/Blue pool. Wilcke was 3-2 for the team splitting time with Corey Abernathy.

While it’s not clear which college Wilcke will choose to attend, one thing that may be clear is the potential weight class he could be filling. Being 182 in high school, he seems a perfect fit to wrestle 184 in college. Looking over the rosters it looks like all three of UNI, ISU, and Iowa could use Wilcke’s services. Iowa State has freshman Lelund Weatherspoon, so adding Wilcke into the fold would give them a great option for him to step in as a sophomore once Weatherspoon graduates. UNI recently lost Ryan Loder, who was a staple in the Panther lineup for four years. They will probably look to replace Loder with 174 NCAA qualifier Cody Caldwell, or one of the Lux brothers. Cash could certainly come in and push for a spot after redshirting. The final option would be Iowa, and it would also make sense for the Hawkeyes to push for Wilcke’s services too. They currently have fan favorite Sammy Brooks to fill the void left by Ethen Lofthouse at 184, but Wilcke could follow the Brooks blueprint by learning two years in the Iowa room, earning a couple spot starts as a freshman, before entering the lineup full time.

The final thought to consider is that Tyler Hoffman, the wrestler mentioned above who beat Wilcke at preseason nationals, still hasn’t made his decision public on where he is going to college. I am pretty sure he was hearing from both UNI and Iowa as a walk on. I know Hoffman wasn’t cutting much to 195 for high school, so 184 would probably be his college weight. Would Hoffman going to one school like UNI or Iowa be enough to sway Wilcke away from it? It probably wouldn’t the main reason he wouldn’t attend that school, as Wilcke is a competitor, but I thought it was at least worth mentioning.

Other wrestlers in Iowa who don’t have any ranking love right now, but have potential college wrestling futures:

  • Keegan Shaw, another Southeast Polk Ram who should have college options if he is interested. He finished 3rd in the 3A 132 bracket which featured Stroker and future Panther Jake Koethe. Shaw is also the nephew of former Hawkeye Jessman Smith.
  • Isaiah Patton of Dowling, who was the 3A state champion at 160 is an interesting name to watch. Patton defeated Iowa recruit Skyler St. John (brother of four time All-American Derek) in the state finals 3-2. UNI and Iowa State could/should have interest in him as 165 or as a 174 recruit. Iowa is fairly deep at 174 (could have Meyer and then Paddock), and Paddock could be a factor at 165 as well.
  • Jacob Holschlag of Union was the state champion at 2A 160 weight class. He projects into that 165/174 range as well, though currently I am not as high on him. If he puts together a solid senior season I could certainly change my tune, but I don’t know too much more about Holschlag, other than what you can see looking at his results from last year’s tournament.


By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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