U17 World Champion Koy Hopke (photo courtesy of Martin Gabor/UWW)
The school that produced legendary heavyweights like Verne Gagne, Brock Lesnar, Garrett Lowney, Cole Konrad, Tony Nelson, and Gable Steveson has its next big man. The University of Minnesota received a verbal commitment from the #3 overall recruit in the Class of 2024 Koy Hopke (Amery, WI).
In MatScouts most recent ranking update (without the Class of 2023), Hopke is the top-ranked wrestler at 285 lbs and #2 overall in the pound-for-pound rankings.
So what has Hopke done to merit such lofty rankings? Hopke is a three-time Wisconsin state champion and a U17 world champion in freestyle. He won the U17 Trials in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, taking eight in Greco at the 2022 U17 World Championships. The previous year he was third in both styles after his freshman year of high school. That same summer, Hopke was a 16U national champion in both styles in Fargo.
Prior to his commitment, Hopke was the highest-ranked uncommitted wrestler in the Class of 2024. He'll be the centerpiece of a Minnesota Class of 2024 that already includes two other wrestlers in the top-100, #22 Charlie Millard (WI) and #79 Jack Nelson (MN), along with one that just missed #104 Blake Beissel (WI). The Gophers have typically recruited Wisconsin well and Hopke would be the third wrestler from Wisconsin in the class.
It's easy to get excited about Minnesota's future prospects in the upperweights. They should have some combination of Max McEnelly and Gavin Nelson at 184/197, followed by Hopke at heavyweight. McEnelly was a U17 world bronze medalist last year and Nelson fell in the bronze medal match in 2021.