Now that folkstyle season is officially concluded and we are entering the FRECO (Freestyle and Greco) portion of the season, it is time to reflect on the incoming high school recruits and how they will impact the Hawkeyes going forward. Iowa’s recruiting class is coming in under the radar, which is surprising given they are graduating a top ranked recruiting class from 2010. The Hawkeyes have 2-3 top 100 recruits coming in (depending on which service you prefer) and their class as a whole is probably somewhere in the Top 15 range. Let’s head to the recruits.
Cash-ing in –
Upper weight Cash Wilcke will join the Iowa Hawkeyes after capturing his second 1A state title in February. Wilcke dominated the 195 field and has earned a top 10 ranking at his weight, with the biggest question being will he wrestle 184 or 197 once he gets to Iowa. He has had a solid post-season to this point, being selected to two all-star teams, took first at a folkstyle national tournament in Las Vegas, and third at USA Wrestling folkstyle nationals in Cedar Falls, IA.
For starters, 184 looks like it could potentially be filled by Sammy Brooks, who is one of the top sophomores at the weight class and true freshman backup Mitch Bowman also appears to be a 184. Bowman defeated Wilcke when the two wrestled in the Fargo 5th palce match this past summer – though things can change in one or two years’ time when Wilcke comes off his redshirt. It’s certainly possible that one or none end up at 197, but what is clear right now is that once Nathan Burak and Kris Klapprodt graduate, there is a void that will need to be filled.
East Coast bias –
Mike Kemerer comes to Iowa as the top recruit in the 2015 class, considered a top 15 overall recruit. Kemerer has ascended to the #1 spot in the 145 rankings after the two top Fargo wrestlers bumped up to 152. Kemerer’s 2014-15 season is loaded with accolades that include Super 32, Ironman, PowerAde, and a state title. He is also 2-1 in all-star dual appearances.
Kemerer will come into the University of Iowa projecting as a 149 pound wrestler with room to grow into the 157 pound weight class. Currently All-American Brandon Sorensen occupies the 149 weight class, and given he will be just a sophomore he could be there for some time. It’s reasonable to expect Kemerer to wrestle 157 in some fashion during his redshirt season to try and test the waters, but the reality may be that he is a true 157 pounder. The good news for Iowa is that they will have a whole year to try and figure out how to try and work Sorensen and Kemerer in the lineup.
Bulldog mentality –
Iowa will add two more Bettendorf Bulldogs to their squad in Paul Glynn and Jacob Woodard, who will join former teammate Conner Ryan. Glynn is a legacy, joining his father, Paul Sr. who wrestled at Iowa during the 80s. This past year Glynn took 2nd in the 132 state finals, and Woodard took 4th.
For Glynn he will come in expecting to compete at 133 or 141 which will mean that he will likely have to go through Cory Clark for the 133 spot or Topher Carton to try and take the 141 spot. Woodard, who won a state title as a sophomore will likely wrestle 149 or 157 so he will face off with a former high school teammate between the Ryan, among others.
Iowa’s DI factory?
Aaron Meyer and Keegan Shaw will join a rich tradition of Southeast Polk wrestlers which has been producing a ton of DI wrestlers (a school that has produced current stars like All-American Cory Clark, Alex Meyer, Willie and Timmy Miklus, Colin Stickland, 2015 top 100 recruit Hellickson, and a junior commit Ethan Andersen). Meyer will join his brother, Alex on the squad and Shaw’s uncle Jessman Smith was also a former Hawkeye. These two will be joining a family legacy and will look to continue their careers in Hawkeye singlets. Meyer projects as a 149 wrestler and Shaw will project as a 141.
More Instate stockpiling –
To add the list of all of the talented 2015 seniors, the Hawkeyes have also Jeren Glosser and Cole Erickson, both of which are home grown products who are eager to begin their careers as Hawkeyes. Erickson is a four-time state medal winner for Mediapolis, bringing home 3rd at 160 pounds this past season. After losing his opening round match by fall, Erickson strung together five wins – three bonus – in a row to win the consolation bracket. Glosser was also a third place finisher for Eddyville-Blakesburg Freemont at 138 pounds. A collision course with the state’s top junior Carter Happel seemed imminent, but stud freshman Trey Brisker had other things to say about that when he upset Glosser in the semifinals. Glosser rebounded strong winning his next two matches by bonus, including a first period fall in the third place match.
Erickson projects at 157/165 for the Hawkeyes and despite not having a ton of national accolades, he does own an 8-1 victory over top 50 senior recruit Larry Early (Minnesota recruit). Iowa lacks a clear front-runner at 157 pounds and 165 also remains up in the air. Logan Thomsen, Edwin Cooper, and Patrick Rhoads have each made starts for Iowa at those weights, but none appear to have the clear edge. Glosser projects at 141 or 149 where as mentioned above he will challenge with incoming recruit Glynn and Woodard against incumbents like Brody Grothus, Carton, Ryan, and Sorensen.
From the land of Lincoln –
Vince Turk is nice addition that took me by surprise at first, but now as I spent a season getting familiar with the Montini wrestler, I have come to like him and what he brings to the table. Turk first hit my radar when he won the Conflict at Carver in a preseason tournament and was also awarded outstanding wrestler in a field of some pretty good competitors. Only ranked as a top 100 senior by one, maybe two services (AWP and Flo), when he committed it was welcoming news to hear that he intended to challenge for the 141 spot. I think Turk has really raised his profile where he will come in and battle for that spot as soon as he is eligible to do so. Turk has climbed into the top 10 at 145 for the high school rankings and is eager for the challenge of the Iowa wrestling room.
Joey Gunther is a little more under the radar compared to his Illinois counterpart Turk in that he doesn’t light up recruiting boards, but still had a fairly successful season in his runner-up finish at the IL state championships. His loss in the finals was to a top 20 ranked Matt Rundell from powerhouse Oak Park River Forest. Gunther competed at 160 so he will ideally compete around 157 or 165 depending on his feel. On paper both weight classes are considered open with Nick Moore and Mike Kelly graduating, but the chance he starts as a true freshman remains pretty slim at this point given Tom Brands history. Gunther is a guy who has flirted in the top 20 of his weight class rankings and will be an interesting prospect.
Rocky Mountain high –
Danny Murphy from out west in Colorado also appears to be a solid addition as he bonused his way through the Colorado bracket. Not a lot is known about Murphy given his distance it’s been tougher for Iowa fans to keep up with the future Hawks progress. At his state tournament Murphy picked up to major decisions and a pair of falls (including one in the finals) to win the 5A 145 crown. Murphy has told us that he plans on wrestling 149 when he gets to college, and comes in with the right mentality to be successful in the room. He said it best in his interview, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
Late Bloomer –
Jeremiah Moody recently joining the 2015 recruiting class is Wisconsin’s Moody, who finished third at the Wisconsin state championships this year. Moody has a bit of a unique story in that he didn’t even start wrestling until he was a freshman in high school. This past year Moody put together top four finishes in both Greco-Roman and freestyle Cadet’s at Fargo, which is an indicator that not only did Moody start wrestling until later in his career, he also is young for his grade as most soon-to-be seniors wrestle in the Junior division at Fargo. Moody cited Ryan Morningstar as a factor for choosing Iowa and projects at 165 for the Hawkeyes.
Looking ahead –
2016 already looking bright –
Alex Marinelli looks like a steal out of Ohio already, and considering how high he was ranked when he committed for him to only move up is truly saying something. Marinelli started off ranked #4 in his weight this year and was the #8 ranked 2016 recruit. His last loss was to Fox Baldwin at Super 32, but he and Logan Massa bumped to 170 leaving him #2 behind Cadet World champion Mason Manville. Marinelli took care of business there beating Manville at the Ironman tournament and won his third Ohio State title to claim the #1 spot at 160 and is probably a top 5 2016 recruit. Marinelli is an absolute hammer and is a nightmare to wrestle on his feet where he has several attacks he can go to. He will need a little more refinement before he gets to the Iowa room, but with the workout partners he will have at Graham, he will have plenty of great partners to keep him sharp. Pegged to be a 165 pounder, Marinelli just may be the best thing to happen to the 165 weight class since his future coach Ryan Morningstar graduated.
Kaleb Young was the first Iowa commit for the 2016 class and the first time they were able to land one of the Young Guns wrestlers which has been sprouting a couple top recruits every year for the past few seasons. Young finished 4th in Pennsylvania (one loss was to superstar and PSU bound Vincenzo Joseph), but also put together a good Super 32 tournament that saw him place 7th. Taking out all the seniors will put Young as the 6th best 152 pound wrestler in the country so he’ll have an opportunity to make a name for himself with the coming national tournaments this offseason. Having two guys already making verbal commitments before 7/1 contact period makes this Iowa class very strong to start. He’ll project at 157 or 165 when he gets to Iowa, so he’ll have to fight for a starting spot with so many quality wrestlers at those weights.
Carter Happel (catching a theme yet?) will also be considered an interesting high school target for Iowa. There are plenty of ties/connections that would put Happel at Iowa – his dad wrestled at Iowa, his coach wrestled at Iowa, the assistant coach Ryan Morningstar graduated from his high school – but Happel doesn’t come across as a kid that will make a decision based off of those factors. Obviously he is a compeitior, winning three state titles and trains at the Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club (which has quite a bit of talent) so I don’t think Happel would back down from a challenge and having to fight through a crowded Iowa room to start, but I could also see Happel wanting to be his own person and wrestle where he feels gives him the best chance to thrive. Being a two-time freestyle national champion shows that Happel could compete at 141 or 149, depending where he ends up in college.
Nick Suriano out in New Jersey is an interesting lightweight option for Iowa. Signs seem to point that he prefers Iowa (if you place stock in online talk) and I think given the bevy of Iowa success, wrestling under Tom Brands has to be a tempting offer. That said as a top 10 recruit from the east coast he will probably have offers from everywhere, including Rutgers who is trying to build up their program now that they have joined the Big Ten, and are trying to keep their instate talent from migrating to other places. Suriano would be a key target to fill a hole that Gilman and Clark will be leaving.
Mark Hall is the belle of the ball. Just about everyone and their grandma knows about Mark Hall by now, and what he is doing is truly remarkable. As if destroying Minnesota competition year after year wasn’t enough, he took on Anthony Valencia, a guy many considered to be the best pound-for-pound wrestler in high school, and mopped the floor with him at Flowrestling’s Who’s Number One. Hall has quickly emerged as star in wrestling, already considered the #10 ranked 74 kg freestyle wrestler.. in America. Hall has narrowed his list to five or six teams, and recently visited Iowa during their regional dual with Virginia. It’s clear Hall likes Iowa, but the question is does he like another school a little more? Hall looks to be a sure-fire 174 in college, and he could be a tremendous 1-2 punch with Alex Marinelli.
Of course Carter Happel isn’t the only big thing in Iowa, lightweight recruits Brock Rathbun (Center Point) and Jack Wagner (Bettendorf) are both quality prospects that could be potential 125 pound wrestlers for the Hawkeyes. There are a couple factors at play for this one, one could be Nick Suriano, one of the best lightweights in the nation could end up at 125, which would make breaking the lineup for these two smaller high school wrestlers a challenge. The main point to consider is that this class would be redshirt freshmen once Gilman and Clark graduate, which makes Iowa team need for a lightweight fairly obvious. Brands has redshirted every single high school addition, which means that 2017 recruits are likely headed for the same path. Regardless of lineup scenarios, both Rathbun and Wagner have made names for themselves and wherever they end up will be getting a quality wrestler.
2017 does too –
The recruiting class that is two year away is also already shaping up rather nicely for Iowa, with two of the 113 recruiting classes top recruits already committed. The bigger name is Justin Mejia, who is already a two-time California state champion. In a state that only has one class, winning a title as a freshman is rare, winning two in a row to start your career is also a pretty talented feat. Add to him a kid out of the famous Oak Park River Forest (Sammy Brooks and Minnesota’s twin duo the Dardanes’ old high school) Jason Renteria who is coming off a second place finish at the Illinois state championships at the same weight. Renteria’s loss was to freestyle national champion Austin Gomez.
What is clear to see from these two’s commitments is: 1. How younger kids are seeing just how successful Iowa’s lightweights have been recently, and 2. How much an impact a guy like Tony Ramos has on the younger wrestler. Renteria and Mejia mention Ramos and McDonough respectively for a reason as to why they like Iowa.