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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    An Early Look at the DI Recruiting Class of 2022

    Nick Feldman at Who's #1 (Photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

    The Class of 2021 recruiting is in the rearview mirror. They are "so last week." In fact, the 2021 recruiting class rankings were released by InterMat last Tuesday and detailed the top 25 classes in the nation. As we move forward, it's time to check out the Class of 2022; the current high school juniors. Recruiting verbals have been given earlier and earlier by the year, even in a pandemic situation with no official on-campus visits, to date. Even so, a significant chunk of the top-200 juniors in the nation (as per MatScouts) have pledged to DI schools.

    We have looked at every team that has received a verbal from a top-200 junior and given some insight about the wrestlers themselves, where they fit, or why their respective commitment is significant.

    Arizona State

    Current Verbals:

    #45 Michael Kilic (Woodward Academy, GA) 149 lbs

    #66 Kaleb Larkin (Valiant Prep, AZ) 141/149 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #2

    Typically, Arizona State has had a light year or two after their big classes. With a pair of top-75 wrestlers already in the fold, the Sun Devils would be in the midst of another highly ranked group. #66 is the son of four-time All-American and 2004 Hodge Trophy winner Eric Larkin.

    Army West Point

    Current Verbals:

    #111 Nick Corday (Baylor School, TN) 125 lbs

    #129 Gage Cook (Granger, WA) 285 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #24

    A strong start for Kevin Ward's team after a massive 2021 class that included nine of the top-300 wrestlers in the nation. The Black Knights lightweight area may be crowded, but another good one is on the way with Corday. Army has a long tradition of pulling in talent from Tennessee. Though he's actually "from" Georgia, Corday could be another one.


    Current Verbals:

    #82 Dom Baker (New Kent, VA) 174 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR

    Assistant coach Daryl Thomas has likely taken advantage of his time spent in Virginia coaching at Old Dominion, as he has nabbed the top junior in the state, Dom Baker. Baker has come on strong in the last year and will be a valuable addition in the 174/184 range. He competed at 182 lbs during the high school season, but has been 160 since.


    Current Verbals:

    #25 Jack Wehmeyer (Malvern Prep, PA) 184 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #25

    Provided he maintains or possibly improves upon his current ranking, Jack Wehmeyer could be the highest-ranked Columbia recruit in the last 20 years (Matt Palmer/2002). Wehmeyer had a breakthrough year in 2020-21, culminating in a National Prep Open title at 182 lbs. He also hails from the unofficial team champion, Malvern Prep, which will be fruitful for future recruiting needs.


    Current Verbals:

    #46 Daniel Cardenas (Pomona, CO) 157 lbs

    #67 Erik Gibson (Bishop McCort, PA) 165 lbs

    #118 Jack Darrah (Christian Brothers, MO) 197 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #3

    It's business as usual for the Big Red, who always tend to recruit well. While last year's class and the prior group leave few holes, they have a trio of highly capable high school juniors in the mix. Jack Darrah is a high school teammate of current Cornell freshman, Joshua Saunders. Erik Gibson is the older brother of freshman phenom Mason Gibson, so Cornell has to have the inside track on Mason.


    Current Verbals:

    #117 Joe Cangro (Bergen Catholic, NJ) 141 lbs

    Harvard had a solid 2021 class that may have snuck under the radar due to the classes nabbed by their Ivy League rivals. Getting state power, Bergen Catholic's Joe Cangro is a substantial piece for 2022. Cangro has placed three times at the New Jersey state tournament, each time in the top three, and has competed in some brutal weights.

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR


    Current Verbals:

    #33 Tyler Lillard (Wyoming Seminary, PA) 165 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR

    It's good to see Indiana get a verbal from a top-50 recruit and one that attends one of the top prep schools in the nation. Undoubtedly there will be more talent in the pipeline at Sem. Lillard is stingy to score on and has a knack for prevailing in tight bouts.

    Iowa State

    Current Verbals:

    #21 Manuel Rojas (Detroit CC, MI) 184 lbs

    #27 Casey Swiderski (Dundee, MI) 149 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #16

    Is it the Brent Metcalf effect? Iowa State has verbals from not one, but the top two juniors from Michigan. Manuel Rojas has been considered one of the gems of the Class of 2022 for his entire career; however, Casey Swiderski really emerged over the last year. Both are projected at weights inhabited by returning seniors, so they will be plugging potential holes in Ames.


    Current Verbals:

    #4 Ryan Crookham (Saucon Valley, PA) 149 lbs

    #44 PJ Casale (Delbarton, NJ) 197 lbs

    #132 Enzo Morlacci (Kiski Area, PA) 165 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR

    Lehigh had a bit of a light recruiting class in 2021, by their lofty standards, but they look ready to be among the elite in 2022. A verbal from Ryan Crookham marked the highest-ranked recruit for Lehigh since #1 overall David Craig signed in 2006. New Jersey champion, PJ Casale, gives Pat Santoro's team a pair of top-50 recruits, early on, and could be a fixture at 197.


    Current Verbals:

    #88 Kal Miller (Park Hill, MO) 149 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #8

    What does the Maryland wrestling staff do for an encore after signing their best-recruiting class in recent memory? Go for an encore, as they have already secured a verbal from another top-100 recruit, Kal Miller, younger brother of 2021 signee, Ethen. No question that head coach Alex Clemsen's time spent in Missouri helped land the Park Hill duo.


    Current Verbals:

    #22 Troy Spratley (Plano West, TX) 125 lbs

    #63 Hunter Lyden (Stillwater, MN) 165 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #7

    Last year saw Minnesota expand its recruiting footprint by signing a top-50 recruit from Texas in Tagen Jamison. Well, this time around, they have his teammate, Troy Spratley. The Gopher staff always does well at keeping their top in-state kids at home, which they've done with Hunter Lyden. The two-time state champion, Lyden, could contribute at 165, a weight where the Gophers have missed out on producing an All-American at since 2014.


    Current Verbals:

    #51 Clayton Whiting (Oconto Falls, WI) 184 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR

    A massive Class of 2020, one that yielded a pair of true freshman All-Americans (Keegan O'Toole and Rocky Elam), eliminated the need for another class of its size in 2021. It remains to be seen how large 2022 will turn out. So far, Clayton Whiting is aboard. Mizzou has had good luck heading north to Wisconsin in the past, so Whiting may be the next Cheesehead state sensation for the Tigers.

    NC State

    Current Verbals:

    #16 Chase Horne (West Laurens, GA) 285 lbs

    #29 Jackson Arrington (Forest Hills, PA) 149 lbs

    #32 Dylan Fishback (Aurora, OH) 197 lbs

    #60 Finn Solomon (Franklin Regional, PA) 149 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #5

    The NC State staff has developed into one of the top four or five most consistent at hauling in highly ranked recruiting classes. The headliner is big man Chase Horne, who spent part of his junior year ranked #1 in the nation. Arrington rose up the ranks significantly during the 2020-21 campaign. He and Finn Solomon are both from PA, a state that has been kind to the Wolfpack. Dylan Fishback is a big man that may get overlooked, but he could be a long-term solution at 197 lbs.


    #110 Nick Vafiadis (New Kent, VA) 157/165 lbs

    #119 Evan Tallmadge (Brick Memorial, NJ) 125 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #18

    Cary Kolat's first full recruiting class with the Naval Academy included nine members of the big board and was very Pennsylvania-heavy. Expect that to continue this year and in the future. Right now, Kolat went south to Virginia and landed Fargo finalist and NHSCA Junior champ, Nick Vafiadis. Also with past Fargo success is 2019 16U freestyle national champion, Evan Tallmadge.


    Current Verbals:

    #15 Harley Andrews (Tuttle, OK) 285 lbs

    #26 Antrell Taylor (Millard South, NE) 165 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #13

    Nebraska is a mainstay among the top recruiting teams. The 2022 Class will do nothing to change that, possibly even increase their typical ranking. Typically, the Cornhusker staff has to venture outside its borders to sign talent, as they will do with Harley Andrews. But this year, Nebraska has kept one of the state's top product's in quite some time, Antrell Taylor.

    North Carolina

    Current Verbals:

    #48 Noah Pettigrew (Blair Academy, NJ) 197 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #21

    The Tar Heels are on the board with a really tough upperweight in Noah Pettigrew. Noah is from Georgia, home of recent two-time AA (Chip Ness) and attends Blair Academy, where 2021 All-American Zach Sherman graduated. Makes a lot of sense. The UNC staff had recruited extremely well under Coleman Scott, so expect this class to grow.

    North Dakota State

    Current Verbals:

    #179 Gavin Drexler (Stratford, WI) 133 lbs

    #187 Maxwell Petersen (Byron, MN) 141 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #15

    Who could have forecasted that North Dakota State would have come out of, seemingly nowhere, to grab the #15 ranking in 2021? The Bison staff has already taken steps to help ensure another place in the recruiting rankings by getting Gavin Drexler and Maxwell Petersen. Minnesota has proven to be a great place for NDSU to nab talent and they did it again with Petersen.

    Northern Colorado

    Current Verbals:

    #50 Quentin Saunders (Wichita West, KS) 184/197 lbs

    #191 Brady Hankin (Woodland Park, CO) 141 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #19

    Northern Colorado got an early verbal commitment from one of the best-kept secrets in the nation, Quentin Saunders. Saunders hasn't done a whole lot of national-level events, so it's not out of the picture to see his ranking rise after a big summer. Brady Hankin is likely the second-best junior in the state. Since Troy Nickerson has been at the helm in Greeley, his staff has done an excellent job at keeping those types of recruits at home.

    Northern Iowa

    Current Verbals:

    #136 Chet Buss (North Butler, IA) 285 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR

    Two-time Iowa 1A state champion, Chet Buss, has all the makings of a Doug Schwab-type recruit. Schwab has done well with small school kids and ones that may be overlooked on a national scale.


    Current Verbals:

    #200 Sammie Hayes (Carl Sandburg, IL) 125 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #10

    It's easy to picture Sammie Hayes being a similar sort of recruit to his older brother Louie. The more senior Hayes just finished his career at Virginia as an All-American, despite not being a super-highly ranked high schooler. Keeping Sammie in-state and away from Virginia is a good win for Matt Storniolo's team.

    Ohio State

    Current Verbals:

    #3 Nick Feldman (Malvern Prep, PA) 285 lbs

    #24 Seth Shumate (Dublin Coffman, OH) 197 lbs

    #105 Gavin Brown (Legacy Christian, OH) 149 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #9

    The star power from Ohio State's early class would give them a strong case for having the top-ranked Class of 2022. Not only are Nick Feldman and Seth Shumate uber-talented, but they both are also at two of the most challenging weights to recruit. Feldman will likely grow into 285 lbs, despite wrestling like a 160, a weight he wrestled at in 2018-19. The double 16U national champion, Shumate, will give the Buckeyes an imposing one-two punch at the end of their lineup. Gavin Brown will be able to contribute at the middleweights, as well.


    Current Verbals:

    #20 John Wiley (Mustang, OK) 165 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Rankings: #11

    The Class of 2021 saw Oklahoma keep one of the state's blue-chippers, Tate Picklo, at home with their 11th ranked recruiting class. This time they've got his high school teammate John Wiley. For a team, that can get overshadowed by its in-state rival on the recruiting trail, these are significant wins.

    Oklahoma State

    Current Verbals:

    #8 Anthony Ferrari (Stillwater, OK) 157 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #6

    We already mentioned John Wiley, who's heading to Oklahoma, but the wrestler who pinned him in the state finals was Anthony Ferrari. The younger brother of AJ, Anthony, is almost as big of a recruit. He could be the beginning of a third consecutive monster recruiting class for the Cowboys.

    Oregon State

    Current Verbals:

    #54 Chase DeBlaere (Simley, MN) 141 lbs

    #61 Gabe Whisenhunt (Crescent Valley, OR) 133 lbs

    #81 Isaiah Anderson (Chiawana, WA) 197 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR

    When Chris Pendleton took over at Oregon State, just over a year ago, the commitments started to roll in for the Class of 2021. While that group missed the recruiting rankings, it signaled a renewed amount of interest in the program. The Class of 2022 looks to be where Pendleton's team really makes its mark. They already have a pair of top-100 recruits from the Pacific Northwest and have raided Minnesota for one of their top juniors.


    Current Verbals:

    #23 Martin Cosgrove (Camden Catholic, NJ) 197 lbs

    #73 Evan Mougalian (Kinnelon, NJ) 125 lbs

    #75 Andrew Troczynski (Delbarton, NJ) 165 lbs

    #77 Alex Almeyda (St. Joseph's Regional, NJ) 141 lbs

    #131 Andrew Connelly (Malvern Prep, PA) 197 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #23

    It's no fluke; it's a trend. Penn has been a force to be reckoned with on the recruiting trail, since Roger Reina's return, and there are no signs of slowing down. Through all of their years of strong recruiting, the Quakers may not have a sure-fire, elite 197 lber in the mix...yet. This group could produce a pair with New Jersey champ Martin Cosgrove and National Prep placer Andrew Connelly. Speaking of Jersey, this group is heavy with Garden State talent as Evan Mougalian and Andrew Troczynski are also state champs.

    Penn State

    Current Verbals:

    #12 Levi Haines (Biglerville, PA) 165 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #1

    After hauling in the top-ranked recruiting class in the land, the Penn State staff already is off to a strong start in 2022. The Nittany Lions will get the services of local product Levi Haines, a protege of two-time Hodge Trophy winner, David Taylor. The Cadet World Team member continues to grow and should pencil in well at 165 lbs, which could be a need for Penn State in the future. Penn State doesn't have many needs, but sure filled one with Haines' recent commitment.


    Current Verbals:

    #120 Jared Keslar (Connellsville, PA) 157 lbs

    #137 Briar Priest (Hempfield, PA) 149 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR

    Pittsburgh looks poised to retain a pair of wrestlers from their own backyard with commitments from Jared Keslar and Briar Priest. Keslar is a two-time fourth-place finisher, while Priest won a AAA state crown in 2021. Both project at weights where the Panthers failed to produce a national qualifier last season.


    Current Verbals:

    #18 Ty Whalen (Clearview, NJ) 149 lbs

    #82 Kole Mulhauser (Central Square, NY) 184 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR

    After a year away from the recruiting class rankings, Princeton is back! The Tigers have used a formula that has proved fruitful in the past, with talent from New Jersey and New York. Ty Whalen went from off-the-radar, nationally to a NJ state champ and a top-20 ranking on the Big Board. Kole Mulhauser also is on an upward trajectory and came into his own in 2020-21.


    Current Verbals:

    #6 Brian Soldano (High Point, NJ) 184 lbs

    #39 Brandan Chletsos (Notre Dame, PA) 141 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #17

    The top junior in New Jersey is not leaving the state. #6 Brian Soldano currently sits as the top-ranked 182 lber in the nation, a very top-heavy weight in talent. Between Soldano and 2021 true freshman All-American John Poznanski, Rutgers fans have to be excited about the prospect of two back-to-back in the future. Brandan Chletsos is from nearby in Pennsylvania and has placed top-three at the state tournament, twice.

    South Dakota State

    Current Verbals:

    #159 Christian Noble (Big Lake, MN) 125 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Rankings: #12

    A recent verbal from Minnesota's Christian Noble got South Dakota State's Class of 2022 kickstarted properly. It's not surprising to see the Jackrabbit staff haul in Minnesota kids, as the state was key to their 2021 recruiting ranking.


    #62 Kyle Montaperto (Central Academy, NC) 125 lbs

    #104 Garrett Grice (Bellevue East, NE) 133 lbs

    #133 Keyveon Roller (Lakeway Christian, TN) 133 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: NR

    Virginia just narrowly missed inclusion in our honorable mention portion of the 2021 recruiting rankings. A robust early start says that won't be a problem in 2022. The Cavaliers have gone hard on strengthening their lightweights with their early verbals. Kyle Montaperto and Keyveon Roller are both kids from the South that placed themselves on the map with strong performances at national-level tournaments in 2020-21. Garrett Grice is from an area that continues to grow with DI talent, so Steve Garland's staff may be able to return for help in the future.

    Virginia Tech

    Current Verbals:

    #7 Caleb Henson (Woodland Cartersville, GA) 157 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #22

    The Hokies 2021 class was short on names, but long on talent with a pair of top-50 recruits. This year they "only" have one verbal thus far, but it's from #7 overall Caleb Henson. The Hokies won a big recruiting battle against many of their ACC brethren for the services of the 2020 Super 32 champion.


    Current Verbals:

    #40 Brock Bobzien (Poway, CA) 133/141 lbs

    2021 Recruiting Class Ranking: #14

    Though the Wick brothers are from California, it's still relatively rare to see wrestlers from that state travel to Wisconsin for school, so it was surprising to see Brock Bobzien's commitment. With the cancellation of the 2021 California State Tournament, we weren't able to see just how far Bobzien has come in the last year. A season ago, Bobzien was seventh at the CIF tournament, but he's progressed into a #40 ranking on the Big Board.

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