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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Fargo Preview for ACC Recruits

    NC State recruit Chase Horne of Georgia (Photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

    We are less than a week away from the first whistle blowing at the FargoDome as the Junior/16U National Championships will occur for the first time since 2019. Because of the cancelation of the 2020 tournament, the wrestlers have decided to show up in full force at Fargo. Early entries indicate that it will be the deepest in 10-15 years.

    Over the next couple of days, we'll go conference-by-conference to preview recruits from each school and their chances for success. We have only included recruits that have been tabbed to participate in one of the tournaments. Let's start with the ACC. Even though they only have six teams, the bulk of the conference has established themselves as juggernauts on the recruiting trail, as well as the mat. In each of the last three NCAA Tournaments, a different ACC team has crowned a national champion. Prior to this run, the conference only had three between 1996 and 2017. While these recruits will be battling for stop signs next week, they could be DI All-Americans sooner rather than later. Here is the future of the ACC:

    Duke

    Zack Burroughs (Ohio) - Class of 2022: 195 lbs

    Duke doesn't get a whole lot of early commitments, so I'm intrigued to see how Burroughs performs. The school has traditionally been able to draw from Ohio relatively well; could be the next best Blue Devil? Burroughs is from the storied Graham High School in St. Paris, so he has been well-coached.


    NC State

    Jackson Arrington (Pennsylvania) - Class of 2022: 145 lbs

    Dylan Fishback (Ohio) - Class of 2022: 195 lbs

    Chase Horne (Georgia) - Class of 2022: 285 lbs

    NC State has done an excellent job of recruiting at a high level for the last five-plus years. The 2022 class will be on display in Fargo. Expect this group to be another top-ten ranked class for Coach Pat Popolizio and crew. Each of the three future members of the Wolfpack could have an outside shot at winning titles. Arrington and Fishback have jumped levels over the past year and are trending in the right direction. Both will be competing in two of the deepest weight classes, so factor that in as you view their results. Horne has held the top spot in the nation at times as a junior. He should be considered more of a “favorite” than the other two.

    North Carolina

    Cole Hunt (Georgia) - Class of 2022: 120 lbs

    Noah Pettigrew (Georgia) - Class of 2020: 220 lbs

    The North Carolina staff got into Georgia early and have been able to establish connections in the state that's blown up with DI talent over the past few years. The fruits of the Tar Heel staff's recruiting labors will be on display as two future UNC studs from Georgia will be in action. Hunt has moved up the rankings significantly within the last year and really could declare himself one of the nation's top lightweights. To do so, he'll have to contend with a 120 lb weight class that is ridiculously deep with talent. Pettigrew has already had plenty of success in Fargo, with a 2018 Cadet title to his name and three overall placements on his resume. With top-ranked Nick Feldman (Pennsylvania) missing due to an injury, the 220 lb weight class is loaded, but without a clear favorite. It will be no shock if Pettigrew ends up with a stop sign.

    Pittsburgh

    Cole Hivnor (Ohio) - Class of 2021: 182 lbs

    Jared Keslar (Pennsylvania) - Class of 2022: 160 lbs

    The Panthers will get to see one of their 2021 signees Cole Hivnor in action at the 182 lb weight class. Hivnor has been on the fringes of the national rankings and is capable of pulling an upset or two. He'll compete in a bracket that contains plenty of future DI stars; it's nice to see him testing himself before heading to Pitt. Keslar is one of those Pennsylvania kids that could deceive you based on his resume. He's a two-time state fourth-place finisher, but if you look at his 2021 weight, the three wrestlers ahead of him were ranked in the top ten nationally for the bulk of the year. 160 is a group without a clear-cut favorite, so Keslar could have a big showing here.

    Virginia

    Kyren Butler (Ohio) - Class of 2021: 132 lbs

    Garrett Grice (Nebraska) - Class of 2022: 132 lbs

    Landen Hacker (Ohio) - Class of 2021: 145 lbs

    Nick Sanko (New York) - Class of 2022: 160 lbs

    Marlon Yarbrough (Ohio) - Class of 2021: 120 lbs

    The ACC squad with the largest contingent of current recruits is Virginia. Three graduated seniors and two rising seniors comprise the group of future Cavaliers. Two, Butler and Grice, will compete at a deep 132 lb weight class that features over 15 past Fargo All-Americans. Both contributed to that count with top-six finishes in 2019. The Cavaliers have been able to reel in a handful of talented lightweights with the Class of 2021 and 2022. Another on display is Marlon Yarbrough. Yarbrough is a past Cadet/16U placer in both styles. He should have another deep run at 120 lbs this year. The third Ohio native in the group is Landen Hacker. Hacker doesn't have the national-level credentials of the rest of the future Cavs, so seeing him compete in a loaded weight class will be a good barometer for the UVA staff. The most recruit commit is Sanko. He has had limited opportunities to shine during the last year, due to New York's rules, so he could take the 160 lb class by storm.

    Virginia Tech

    Cooper Flynn (Tennessee) - Class of 2021: 120/126 lbs

    Caleb Henson (Georgia) - Class of 2022: 152 lbs

    While the list of future Hokies in Fargo is not long, their highly skilled duo could return with some serious hardware. Flynn is a graduated senior that has placed four times in Fargo. The 2020 Super 32 champion is proficient in both styles and is expected to compete in both. Early registration figures show that he may bump up to 126 for Greco. Back in 2019, Flynn earned All-American honors in both styles, while competing at the Junior level. Because of the cancelation of the 2020 tournament, there are very few entrants returning with Junior All-American credentials. Another one of them is Henson, who was sixth in Junior freestyle before his sophomore year of high school. Both future Hokies could be considered favorites at their respective weights.

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