The data out of last year's NCAA tournament yields similar conclusion as well: 19/80 All-Americans were top ten recruits, 40/80 were top thirty recruits, while 20 were not top 100 recruits.
With that premise laid out, one can see the importance for programs to land elite talents in recruiting. It then goes without saying that recognizing which elite talents have the true goods in all aspects to perform in college, as well as developing said talent once on campus, is also vital. The importance of elite talent is made abundantly clear when looking at the lineups that Penn State and Ohio State put on the mat during this past season.
The five NCAA finalists for Penn State that comprised "death row" were all top ten recruits in their respective graduating classes: Zain Retherford was third in the Class of 2013, Jason Nolf seventh in 2014, Vincenzo Joseph seventh in 2015, Mark Hall first in 2016, and Bo Nickal fifth in 2014.
Other All-Americans for Penn State were two more top ten recruits in Nick Lee (fifth from the Class of 2017) and Nick Nevills (fourth from the Class of 2014), plus Shakur Rasheed who was 56th in the Class of 2014. The remaining two Nittany Lion starters in the postseason were also top 100 recruits, Carson Kuhn was 86th in the Class of 2010, while Corey Keener was 97th in the Class of 2013. (Kuhn did not qualify for the NCAAs this past season.)
All ten of Ohio State's starters made the NCAA tournament, and all were ranked as top 100 recruits in their graduating class. NCAA champ Kyle Snyder was first in the Class of 2014, and runner-up Myles Martin was fourth in 2015. Four additional top ten recruits were among the All-American finishers: Luke Pletcher (eighth in 2016), Joey McKenna (eighth in 2014), Micah Jordan (sixth in 2014), and Bo Jordan (first in 2013).
Nathan Tomasello (15th in 2013) and Kollin Moore (32nd in 2015) were the other Buckeyes' All-American finishers, while additional NCAA qualifiers for the Buckeyes were Ke-Shawn Hayes (13th in 2015) and Te'Shan Campbell (65th in 2015).
It should come as little surprise that the top two programs of recent years are continuing to recruit at an extraordinarily elite level, as one will find out when reading the rankings and capsule profiles below (top 25 class for 2018, along with the recruits that are in those classes).
Four-time state champ Seth Nevills anchors Penn State's No. 1 recruiting class (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
1. Penn State
Top 100 recruits: No. 6 Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), No. 10 Joe Lee (Evansville Mater Dei, Ind./NLWC), No. 12 Michael Beard (Malvern Prep, Pa.), No. 14 Aaron Brooks (North Hagerstown, Md.), No. 15 Roman Bravo-Young (Sunnyside, Ariz.), No. 20 Gavin Teasdale (Jefferson-Morgan, Pa.), and No. 37 Brody Teske (Fort Dodge, Iowa)
Commentary: The most notable part of this class for the three-time defending national champion Nittany Lions is the addition of three high-end prospects for the opening couple of weight classes in Bravo-Young, Teasdale, and Teske. It's an absurdly strong class for the squad that has won seven national titles over the last eight seasons -- featuring six of the top 20 recruits nationally, and a seventh within the top 40. Rounding out the class are Joe Lee, true freshman All-American Nick's younger brother, and Cadet world champion Brooks who address the middle, while Beard and Nevills cover the back couple of weight classes.
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2018 InterMat Recruiting Class Rankings
1. Penn State
2. Ohio State
3. North Carolina State
9. North Carolina
11. Iowa State
15. Okahoma State
19. Northern Iowa
21. Army West Point
23. SIU Edwardsville
Honorable mention: Arizona State, Harvard, Pitt, South Dakota State, Virginia