Back in October, I released 2016 recruiting class rankings. More or less for fun because so many juniors have given verbal commitments it was an interesting, yet easy thing to do ranking-wise. As we head into Spring, a few more juniors have given their verbal and we are now have a very early picture forming. There is still a long ways to go and it can change in a hurry, but none the less let’s take a look at the rankings*.

*As an aside I will also note that almost every rankings for the 2016 class has yet to be updated in the last few months, which means that taking rankings from last fall will mean almost nothing. Instead of listing a rank, I will list the wrestler’s range, they are: Top 10, 25, 50, 75, and 100. Pretty easy, but that means 1-10, 11-25, 26-50, etc. There are clear front runners, but after that it gets more difficult so the rest are lumped together, and the order given for the 6-10, and then the next group of teams is based off of those old rankings.

#1 Lehigh: Top 10 Jordan Wood and Top 25 Chris Weiler

Last fall Lehigh sat just behind Iowa with only prep Jordan Wood on their list, but their addition of another Pennsylvania prep wrestler Chris Weiler has pushed Lehigh ahead of the Hawkeyes. Wood truly is a good prospect, considered the #12 high school P4P (#5 wrestler for underclassmen) by Flowrestling. He’s been one of the top 220’s for the past season and will continue to be the favorite for #1 status at his weight even if he decides to bump to 285 for his senior season. Weiler is a tough wrestler who gave Alex Marinelli a tough match at the 2014 Ironman tournament.

#2 Iowa: Top 10 Alex Marinelli and Top 50 Kaleb Young

Iowa slipped to #2 in the team rankings and Alex Marinelli appears to be a good one as well. He is ranked just below Wood in the P4P rankings at #13 and has been the #1 ranked 160 pound wrestler since December. He has dominated just about everyone since his defeat in the Super 32 finals, including wins in freestyle over a top five Josh Shields at AGON V. Kaleb Young looks to be a very promising recruit and finished fourth in a very tough Pennsylvania bracket. Eight wrestlers ranked ahead of Young will graduate so he should jump up the rankings for the start of the next year.

#3 Penn State: Top 10 Mason Manville

In our last set of rankings Manville was the reining Cadet World champion, a Fargo national champion and considered one of the best prep wrestlers in the country. Not to say he still isn’t an elite talent, but the former Blair Academy wrestler has slipped some in the past few months. After a defeat in the Ironman finals to Marinelli, Manville decided to leave Blair and head back to Minnesota where he is now focused on training in the international styles. Manville remains committed to Penn State, and it will be interesting how he is evaluated if he is not competing in folkstyle full time as was his situation for the latter part of this season.

#4 Northwestern: Top 10 Nick Reenan

Like I mentioned in the aside, it’s still early and having just one top 10 guy translates to one of the top recruiting classes at this time. 170 Nick Reenan gives Northwestern a very solid recruit. The past few seasons Northwestern has done very well of only adding a few wrestlers and with the exception of 2014, they haven’t really landed multiple top 10 top 25 recruits in the past few seasons.

#5 Minnesota: Top 25 Mitch McKee

Minnesota put together a really strong 2015 recruiting class and have gotten off on the right foot in 2016 with 133 prospect Mitch McKee. McKee has already captured the first leg of the triple crown, by winning the 2015 folkstyle nationals in Cedar Falls. McKee is a very nice start to the 2016, but will need some more additions to stay a top five recruiting class.

The next five:

Top 10 class Virginia Tech
Top25 Kyle Norstrem
Top 10 class Virginia
Top 50 Jack Mueller
Top 100 Michael Murphy
Top 10 class Pitt
Top 50 Jake Wentzel
Top 50 Austin Bell
Top 10 class NC State
Top 50 Hayden Hidlay
Top 10 class Purdue
Top 50 Devin Schroder

Other schools receiving verbal commitments:

Top 50 Ty Agaisse Princeton
Top50 Hunter Marko Wisconsin
Top 50 Matt Stencel Central Michigan
Top 50 Dakota Geer Edinboro
Top 75 Alex Mackall Rutgers
Top 75 Brandon Paetzell Rutgers
Top 75 Ben Darmstadt Cornell
HM Max Dean Cornell
Top 75 Drew Phipps Bucknell
Top 100 Luke Karam Bucknell
Top 75 Austin Kraisser Campbell
Top 75 Jack Harris Kent State
Top 75 Jose Champange Indiana
Top 75 Kevin Budock Old Dominion
Top 100 Matt Schmitt West Virginia
HM Mark McCormick Rider

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle