NC State signee Dylan Fishback (left), Ohio State's Nick Feldman (center), and Iowa State's Casey Swiderski (right) (photos courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
The 2021 recruiting class rankings were as difficult as any I've ever done. No one team jumped out from the pack and solidified themselves as the no-brainer pick. Fast forward a year to the 2022 class and the top spot was relatively easy to figure out. One team stood head and shoulders above the other signing classes. After that, there was plenty of chaos! We ranked out to the top-25; however, you could make the case for ten to twelve other programs belonging in the rankings.
Recruiting rankings mark the end of the respective class and put a bow on the hard work of coaching staffs around the nation. The question you ask is, how are these rankings tabulated? First, we have used the big board rankings courtesy of our sister-site MatScouts. Willie Saylor has taken the arduous task of projecting the top-300 wrestlers in the Class of 2022, making calculating these rankings slightly easier.
Some of the factors that are taken into account when putting these rankings together include:
- Numbers: Where were the signees ranked? How many top-ten, top-50, top-100, top-250, etc., does a school have?
- Fit: After years of following these programs and their coaching staffs, does a particular recruit fit the "type" of kid that has success at their respective team. Or maybe a style of wrestling.
- Filling a need: In years past, I have weighed this very heavily. Signing two highly ranked 184 lb prospects doesn't appear to fit a need when you have a stud junior returning at the same weight. However, after coming off a "free year" in 2021, that throws a loop into everything. At this time, we don't know whether everyone will actually use that extra year of eligibility. Compared to years past, this category doesn't factor in, as much, unless it's very evident that a team has a glaring logjam at a particular weight or weight range.
- Impact on a program: This is subjective, but tends to favor teams that aren't consistent NCAA trophy contenders. If Iowa or Penn State sign the #80 overall recruit and he turns out to AA twice, taking seventh and eighth for them, it has a particular impact. But if Little Rock or Wyoming sign the same prospect and he has the same career, it will have a much more significant impact on those two programs. Both Little Rock and Wyoming may have benefitted from this criteria in 2022.
So, with that out of the way, enjoy InterMat's 2022 Team Recruiting Rankings.
1) Ohio State
2022 Class: #1 Nick Feldman: 285 lbs (Malvern Prep, PA), #4 Jesse Mendez: 141 lbs (Crown Point, IN), #5 Nic Bouzakis: 133 lbs (Wyoming Seminary, PA), #22 Luke Geog: 184 lbs (St. Edward, OH), #55 Seth Shumate: 197 lbs (Dublin Coffman, OH), #131 Gavin Brown: 149 lbs (Legacy Christian Academy, OH); NR Brendan McCrone: 125 lbs (Lake Catholic, OH), NR Carter Chase: 165 lbs (Marian Pleasant, OH)
The least surprising ranking of the year goes to Ohio State, who just ran away with the top spot after getting three of the top-five wrestlers in the nation to sign.
The unanimous #1 amongst all seniors is Nick Feldman. Recently, Feldman dominated the field at UWW Junior Nationals to capture the title at 125 kg. As a senior, Feldman won the Ironman, Beast, and Powerade, before claiming his second National Prep title. He also grabbed a win at Who's #1 for a second consecutive year.
The other two blue-chippers in the group, Jesse Mendez and Nic Bouzakis spent parts of their careers ranked #1 in the Class of 2022. Mendez has already appeared on the Cadet and Junior World team for freestyle and won his fourth Indiana state title. Later this week, he'll compete at the Senior World Team Trials, as he has earned the fourth seed at 61 kg. Bouzakis also has been on a Junior World team, for Greco-Roman, and was a Super 32 winner on three occasions. His first placement there came as an eighth-grader when he was fifth at 106 lbs.
A pair of upperweights from in-state hold down the next tier of recruits. Luke Geog was third in Junior freestyle last summer and had the same placement at the Ironman. Seth Shumate has made the Fargo finals three times, winning a double title at the 16U level in 2019. He was the first member of this group to commit. Although Geog and Shumate are pegged at 184/197 for now, they could end up flipping based on body type.
The final member of this ranked portion of the class is Gavin Brown, who made the podium at the Super 32 and Ironman this season. Also coming in from Ohio are state champions Brendan McCrone and Carter Chase.
A few years from now, if Ohio State is able to get back into consistent national title discussion, it will largely be because of this class. In today's era of college wrestling, wrestlers are more advanced coming out of high school and there are fewer "diamonds in the rough" that develop into NCAA title threats. That's why you have to get the horses. Tom Ryan and his staff did that with the Class of 2023. Not that they needed an extra push, but it's extremely helpful that they got top-notch talent at some of the hardest to fill weight classes (197/285), both of which could be a need down the road.
Please pay attention to InterMat's Rokfin channel. After we release the recruiting rankings, we'll post an interview with the Buckeye's Director of Recruiting and Operations to talk in more detail about the members of this class, how it was assembled, and recruiting philosophies.
2021 Ranking: #9
2) Iowa State
2022 Class: #3 Casey Swiderski: 141/149 lbs (Dundee, MI), #14 MJ Gaitan: 165/174 lbs (Temecula Valley, CA), #19 Manny Rojas: 174/184 lbs (Detroit Central Catholic, MI), #77 Connor Euton: 157/165 lbs (Westerville, OH), #85 Ethan Perryman: 133 lbs (Temecula Valley, CA), #206 Evan Frost: 133/141 (Dowling Catholic, IA), #224 Jacob Frost: 133/141 lbs (Dowling Catholic, IA); NR Carter Fousek: 125/133 (Crestwood, IA), NR Cayden Miller: 197 lbs (Midland, IA), NR Cole Carlucci: 184/197 lbs (Monarch, CO)
What a difference six weeks make! In late April, Iowa State was probably pushing for a spot in the top ten with an impressive class. Then #14 MJ Gaitan flipped from Cal Baptist to the Cyclones, which gave Kevin Dresser's team a significant nudge. They locked up the spot last week after getting another pair of big board prospects, the Frost twins from Iowa via Louisiana, to agree to state in-state. Those late additions, combined with an already stellar class, lands Iowa State squarely in the #2 spot.
Within the past two years, Casey Swiderski has risen sharply up the weight class and big board rankings. He finishes his high school career ranked #3 overall amongst seniors. An appearance in the Fargo Junior freestyle finals, followed by a win over then-number one Jesse Mendez, at Who's #1, completed Swiderski's ascend to the top spot at 138 lbs. Also from Michigan is #17 Manny Rojas, who placed third at the MatMen Open, with a win over NCAA qualifier Gerrit Nijenhuis. Rojas has won a Junior freestyle title in Fargo and made the 16U finals twice.
Along with 2022 California state champion, MJ Gaitan is his high school teammate, Ethan Perryman, who won the 120 lb weight class. Both also won the Doc Buchanan this year, while Gaitan was also victorious at the Super 32.
The Frost twins, originally committed to Columbia, were both Iowa state finalists this year with Evan winning and Jacob finishing as a runner-up.
Iowa State had a breakthrough year on the dual front, winning 15 of 16 meets. Now, with this class, they have even more high-end star power, the type needed to make a serious run at the Big 12 and NCAA Championships.
2021 Ranking: #16
3) NC State
2022 Class: #6 Dylan Fishback: 197 lbs (Aurora, OH), #13 Matthew Singleton: 174/184 lbs (Woodward Academy, GA), #28 Jackson Arrington: 149 lbs (Forest Hills, PA), #39 Chase Horne: 285 lbs (West Laurens, GA), #111 Finn Solomon: 141 lbs (Franklin Regional, PA), #172 Troy Hohman: 125 lbs (Penn Trafford, PA), #186 Tommy Curran: 149 lbs (Dekalb, IL), NR Danny Curran: 141 lbs (Dekalb, IL), NR Jacob Cox: 141 lbs (South Rowan, NC), NR Aaron Faison: 157/165 lbs (Union Pines, NC), NR Andrew Macchiavello: 285 lbs (Sun Valley, NC)
For the third straight year, NC State finishes the year with a top-five recruiting ranking. They're the only school in the nation that can claim that designation. The Wolfpack have signed four top-40 recruits and have seven members of the 2022 Big Board headed to Raleigh. Leading the way is Dylan Fishback, the top 197 lb prospect in the class. Fishback was a Junior freestyle champion in Fargo, before staking a claim to the top spot in the nation with a win at Who's #1, and a title at the Ironman. Four-time Georgia state champion and Junior Greco world team member Matthew Singleton is right behind Fishback. Singleton was a two-time Super 32 finalist and one-time champ.
The remaining two top-40 recruits in this mix, Jackson Arrington and Chase Horne, have both been selected and won at Who's #1. Arrington is a three-time Pennsylvania state champion, while Horne has made the Fargo podium on four occasions and made the Super 32 finals three times (winning in 2021).
The other two PA wrestlers in this class are multiple-time placers, Finn Solomon and Troy Hohman. Solomon missed a year due to injury, but made the state finals every year he competed. Hohman was a 2021 champion at the Powerade.
We've already mentioned four other ACC schools in the recruiting rankings. Competition for the league crown and national accolades will be at a premium. For NC State to continue leading the pack in the ACC and pushing for more team trophies, they'll need to have classes like this.
2021 Ranking: #5
2022 Class: #21 Zeke Seltzer: 133 lbs (Cathedral, IN), #35 Clayton Whiting: 184 lbs (Oconto Falls, WI), #67 Ryan Boersma: 285 lbs (Mt. Carmel, IL), #107 Cameron Steed: 141 lbs (Collinsville, OK), #129 Kade Moore: 141 lbs (Allen, TX), #164 J Conway: 165 lbs (Floyd, IN), #221 Owen Uhls: 133/141 (Fulton, MO), #229 Jerrod Fisher: 165 lbs (Goddard, KS), NR Easton Hilton: 125/133 lbs (Liberty, MO), NR Peyton Moore: 125/133 lbs (Nixa, MO), NR Preston Spray: 125 lbs (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)
It seems like every even year Missouri loads up with a huge recruiting class. Since it's 2022, the Tigers have eight Big Board'ers coming in, including three in the top 100. Three-time Indiana state champion Zeke Seltzer is the highest-ranked of the bunch. He is a three-time Fargo freestyle placer and posted top-five finishes at each of the last two Super 32's. Clayton Whiting has already shown flashes of what he can do at the collegiate level by downing Iowa's national qualifier Abe Assad in an open tournament. Whiting was a finalist at the 2021 Super 32 and, a few months earlier, finished top-five in both styles at the Junior level in Fargo. The final top-100 recruit is Illinois state champ Ryan Boersma. A few weeks ago, at UWW Junior Nationals, Boersma downed top-50 recruit Chase Horne and Virginia Tech's national qualifier, Hunter Catka, to earn a place in the finals.
While most school's on this list were content to "call it a year" for their Class of 2022, Brian Smith got spring commitments from a pair of ranked recruits with Cameron Steed and Jerrod Fisher. Steed claimed Oklahoma state titles in all four years, while Fisher was a three-time Kansas champ.
This will certainly be a recruiting class to revisit later. Coach Smith's staff has a knack for taking moderately ranked recruits and having them become more productive collegiate wrestlers. That could happen with this group, as well.
2021 Ranking: NR
2022 Class: #2 Daniel Cardenas: 149/157 lbs (Pomona, CO), #9 Hunter Garvin: 165 lbs (Iowa City West, IA); #82 (Class of 2021) Nico Provo: 125/133 lbs (Green Farms, CT), #108 Brooks Byers: 184 lbs (Sprague, OR), #117 Jack Darrah: 197 lbs (Wyoming Seminary, PA), #199 (Class of 2021) Luke Duthie: 184/197 lbs (Wyoming Seminary, PA), NR Wyatt Richter (St. Edward, OH), NR Xander Galli 149/157 lbs (Phillips Exeter, NH), NR Chayse LaJoie 141 lbs (Yorkville, MI)
Almost a year ago, to the day, Stanford wrestling was saved. Shortly thereafter, the school stunned the wrestling community by hiring Rob Koll from Cornell. In his first recruiting class with the Cardinal, Koll has certainly left an imprint. Two of the nation's top-ten prospects are heading west in Daniel Cardenas and Hunter Garvin.
Cardenas was a two-time 16U national finalist in freestyle and was victorious at the Ironman and Doc Buchanan as a senior. He and Garvin should benefit from training with NCAA champion Shane Griffith and assistant coach Vincenzo Joseph, both around their weights. Garvin is a three-time Iowa state champion and four-time finalist who competed in Who's #1 last fall.
Three-time Fargo placer Jack Darrah and Oregon state champion Brook Byers are two upperweights who come from the high school class of 2022 and will solidify the back of the Cardinal lineup.
Stanford also benefits from having a handful of wrestlers who initially committed to Koll at Cornell from the Class of 2021. Most notable is Nico Provo, an NHSCA Senior National champion, a year ago. Provo looked impressive in limited action, in 2021-22, competing unattached. He could start at 125 right away.
Signing a class like this was important for Koll as he looks to establish a strong foundation and let the wrestling world know that Stanford can be a consistent powerhouse in the Pac-12 and beyond.
2021 Ranking: NR
6) Oklahoma State
2022 Class: #10 Jordan Williams: 165 lbs (Collinsville, OK), #23 Anthony Ferrari: 157 lbs (Stillwater, OK), #34 Zach Blankenship: 133 lbs (Bixby, OK), NR Cutter Sheets (Stilwell, OK)
It's a small, but star-studded weight class for Oklahoma State in 2022. The big names for the Cowboys all are from in-state as John Smith's squad inked three of the top-34 wrestlers in the nation. The centerpiece is Jordan Williams, who has won three stop signs (all in freestyle) during his career in Fargo. Williams also has a Super 32 belt to his name and has participated in the Who's #1 dual twice in his career.
A familiar name for Cowboy fans comes in as the #23 recruit in this country, Anthony Ferrari. Though he's been hampered recently due to injuries, Ferrari could be a solution in year one for Oklahoma State at 157 lbs. He may be more suited to competing immediately than the talented Williams. Like his older brother and Cowboy national champion, AJ, Anthony will be able to handle the physicality of college wrestling sooner than most. Ferrari was a Super 32 runner-up at 152 lbs, prior to his junior year.
Three-time Oklahoma champion Zach Blankenship could be the eventual successor to Daton Fix at 133 lbs. Blankenship is a multi-sport athlete with a high ceiling. Rounding out the class is state runner-up, Cutter Sheets. Sheets is the younger brother of Cowboy All-American, Wyatt, and son of OSU legend Mike.
2021 Ranking: #6
7) Virginia Tech
2022 Class: #8 TJ Stewart: 184/197 lbs (Blair Academy, NJ), #16 Caleb Henson: 149/157 lbs (Woodland Cartersville, GA), #81 Tom Crook: 149 lbs (Tampa Jesuit, FL), #204 Aiden Lacoma: 285 lbs (Christiansburg, VA), NR Evan Holloway: 149 lbs (New Kent, VA), NR Luke Robie: 149/157 lbs (Christiansburg, VA)
Key Transfer: Drew Nicholson: 165 lbs (Chattanooga)
A pair of top-25 signees and three in the top-100 is good enough for Virginia Tech to jump back into the top ten this year. Though he wrestled for Blair Academy, TJ Stewart is from Virginia and one of the state's highest-ranked recruits of the last decade. Keeping him home was imperative for Tony Robie's team. The 16U and Junior freestyle national champion had tournament wins at the Ironman and the Beast of the East during his senior season. He is the long-term answer at 184 or 197, both of which could be issues for the Hokies in the future. Caleb Henson probably ends up at 157 lbs eventually; however, he may be the starter in year one at 149 as Bryce Andonian is slated to move up to 157 next year. Henson is a two-time placer at the Super 32 and Fargo Junior freestyle, winning each once. Both Henson and Stewart were victorious last fall at Who's #1.
Super 32 and Ironman placer Tom Crook will lend depth to the middleweights. Crook was a four-time state champion that helped lead Jesuit to the school's first team title in 2022.
The remainder of the class consists of in-state products, two of which hail from local Christiansburg. Aiden Lacoma is a two-time state champion that finished on the podium at the Super 32, the Ironman, and Beast during his senior season. Teammate Luke Robie, son of head coach Tony, finally broke through and won a state crown as a senior. Someone that held him back in the past was four-time champion, Evan Holloway, also a Hokie-signee. Holloway was fourth at the Beast in 2021.
2021 Ranking: #22
2022 Class: #17 Harley Andrews: 285 lbs (Tuttle, OK), #25 Antrell Taylor: 165 lbs (Millard South, NE), #84 Jacob Van Dee: 125 lbs (Cathedral Prep, PA), #130 Reese Davis: 149 lbs (Tuttle, OK), NR Dez Gartrell: 165 lbs (Dublin Coffman, OH)
Nebraska is a mainstay in the recruiting rankings and checks in with a very strong eighth-ranked recruiting class. Their home state doesn't regularly produce top-25 type recruits every year, so it was imperative to keep a prospect like Antrell Taylor at home. Last year, Taylor was fifth at both, UWW Cadet freestyle and Fargo Juniors. In 2019, Taylor made the Fargo 16U freestyle finals. The Husker staff also nabbed one of the top heavyweights in the class with three-time Oklahoma state champion Harley Andrews. Last year, Andrews was eighth in Junior freestyle in Fargo. In 2019, he also placed in the 16U division; however, it was down at 182 lbs! Andrews' high school teammate, Reese Davis, is also aboard. Davis is a multiple-time state champion and a 2020 winner at Preseason Nationals.
One of the more difficult weights for Nebraska to find a superstar has been 125 lbs. They haven't had a leadoff hitter on the NCAA podium since 2008. Two-time Pennsylvania state finalist and 2021 champion Jacob Van Dee hopes to change that. Van Dee has placed in Fargo three times in his career. The possible diamond in the round is Daz Gartrell, a seventh-place finisher at the Walsh Ironman, who was injured and unable to compete at the Ohio state tournament.
Not only does this group feature high-level competitors, but they also represent an upgrade in talent at their respective projected weights.
2021 Ranking: #13
2022 Class: #30 Michael Gioffre: 141 lbs (Buchanan, CA), #53 Garrett Grice: 133 lbs (Bellevue East, NE), #62 Jack Gioffre: 133 lbs (Buchanan, CA), #90 Kyle Montapero: 125/133 lbs (Central Academy, NC), #104 Nick Hamilton: 157 lbs (Papillion La Vista, NE), #154 Griffin Gammel: 184 lbs (Waukee NW, IA), #167 Keyveon Roller: 133/141 lbs (Lakeway Christian, TN), #210 Nick Sanko: 165 lbs (Pittsford, NY), NR RJ May: 184 lbs (Maggie Walker, VA); NR Cooper Rudolph: 285 lbs (Robinson, VA)
What a recruiting class for the University of Virginia! Unranked last year, the Cavaliers jumped all the way into the top ten with four top-100 recruits and eight of the top-250. The UVA staff went out to California to pull in a pair of state champions in Michael and Jack Gioffre. Michael captured his title with a win over Cadet World team member Beau Mantanona and finished the year ranked second in the nation. That reversed a result from the Doc Buchanan where Michael fell in the finals to Mantanona. Jack was victorious at 132 lbs.
Virginia also went out of their normal recruiting radius to pick up a pair of studs from Nebraska with Garrett Grice and Nick Hamilton. Grice was sixth in Fargo as a Junior and Cadet in freestyle during his past two appearances. Hamilton was Junior national champion in Greco and placed top-five in both styles in 2019. Also in that general area is Iowa state champion, Griffin Gammel.
Closer to home are Kyle Montapero and Keyveon Roller, both top-six placers at the Super 32.
Virginia will get help up-and-down their lineup, possibly in year one, from this group. Having a class like this is essential as the rest of the ACC continues to recruit well.
2021 Ranking: NR
10) Arizona State
2022 Class: #33 Emilio Ysaguirre: 149 lbs (Valiant Prep, AZ), #57 Kaleb Larkin: 141 lbs (Valiant Prep, AZ), #64 Michael Kilic: 141 lbs (Woodward Academy, GA), #136 Jacob Meissner: 184/197 lbs (Osseo, MN), #185 Tyler Antoniak: 157 lbs (Millard South, NE), NR Damion Schunke: 197 lbs (Brandon Valley, SD), NR Diego Chavez: 197 lbs (Santa Cruz, AZ), NR Caleb Vanbuskirk: 197/285 lbs (Palm Desert, CA), NR Corey Camden: 141 lbs (College Park, TX), NR Shay Addison: 184 lbs (Rumson Fair Haven, NJ)
Key Transfer: Anthony Montalvo: 184 lbs (Oklahoma State)
It's back-to-back top-ten recruiting classes for Arizona State, who coincidentally finished with an NCAA trophy for a second straight year. 2003 Hodge Trophy winner and Sun Devil great Eric Larkin started the Valiant Prep wrestling program in Arizona and his alma mater is starting to reap the rewards. ASU signed two of Larkin's wrestlers, both of which are top 60 recruits. Emilio Ysaguirre was a Fargo Junior freestyle runner-up and a UWW Cadet third-place finisher, all within a few months of each other in 2021. Larkin's son, Kaleb, is aboard, as well. The younger Larkin was seventh at the Super 32 prior to last season. The Sun Devil staff was also able to grab a pair of wrestlers from outside of their normal reach at power programs with Michael Kilic and Tyler Antoniak. Kilic is a two-time Super 32 placer that tends to have his best results in Greco. The same goes for Antoniak, who was a Junior champion last summer in Fargo and was sixth at UWW Cadet Nationals in 2021.
In addition to a large recruiting class, ASU will also get a boost from transfer Anthony Montalvo. Montalvo was the ninth seed at nationals in 2020, as a freshman, after finishing third in the Big 12 for Oklahoma State. He'll solidify one of the three weights the Sun Devils didn't qualify last year.
2021 Ranking: #2
2022 Class: #38 Aiden Riggins: 165 lbs (Waverly-Shell Rock, IA), #48 Kolby Franklin: 197 lbs (Wyoming Seminary, PA), #112 Bradley Hill: 285 lbs (Bettendorf, IA), #124 Mickey Griffith: 184 lbs (Des Moines Lincoln, IA), #215 Easton Fleshman: 285 lbs (West Lyon, IA), #242 Joel Jesuroga: 149 lbs (Southeast Polk, IA), NR Jace Rhodes: 141/149 lbs (Mason City, IA), NR Drake Rhodes: 157 lbs (Billings West, MT), NR Cade Siebrecht: 141 lbs (Lisbon, IA), NR Carter Martinson: 141/149 lbs (Southeast Polk, IA), NR Carson Martinson: 149/157 lbs (Southeast Polk, IA), NR Gage Marty; 285 lbs (Solon, IA)
Key Transfer: Real Woods: 141 lbs (Stanford)
It was a crazy week or so in October as this class and the Hawkeyes Class of 2023 came together. Every day, sometimes multiple times per day, new Iowa commitments popped up. Now looking at this extensive list, there will be a handful of wrestlers that probably have a minimal impact in on-the-mat results during their career at Iowa. Between this large group and existing team members, there aren't enough spots in the lineup for everyone.
All of that being said, the Iowa staff did well at addressing potential problem weights, in the future. 2019 Fargo 16U double finalist, Kolby Franklin, could be the successor to NCAA finalist Jacob Warner at 197. Franklin wrestled a tough schedule at Wyoming Seminary and placed highly at nearly every notable high school event. The trio of Bradley Hill, Easton Fleshman, and Gage Marty could eventually replace Tony Cassioppi. Two-time state champion Aiden Riggins may be the answer right away for a potential hole at 157 lbs and could be the man at 165 if Patrick Kennedy eventually goes up to 174.
Immediately, Iowa will get help at 141 from 2022 All-American Real Woods. Real has two years of eligibility remaining and has to be considered a title favorite, in a weight that graduated its top three finishers.
2021 Ranking: #4
2022 Class: #12 Brian Soldano: 174/184 lbs (High Point, NJ), #43 PJ Casale: 197 lbs (Passaic Valley, NJ), #59 Luke Gayer: 165 lbs (Calvary Chapel, CA), #71 Joe Fongaro: 149 lbs (Boonton, NJ), #236 Brandan Chletsos: 141 lbs (Notre Dame-Green Pond, PA), NR Eric Freeman: 165 lbs (Paramus, NJ)
Key Transfer: Joe Heilmann: 133 lbs (North Carolina)
The Rutgers staff did what they've been accustomed to doing on the recruiting front and that was keeping some of their home state's best at home with the signing of Brian Soldano, PJ Casale, and Joe Fongaro. The high-scoring Soldano captured a New Jersey state title in each of his final three years of high school. He also was a Fargo Junior finalist in 2021 and finished in the top three at the Super 32 three times. In 2020, Soldano won the Super 32 belt. Casale was a state champ, as a sophomore, and eschewed the opportunity to win a second in 2021, when he entered UWW Cadet's instead and finished as a runner-up. Fongaro made the leap from sixth as a junior to a NJ state title in 2022.
From the out-of-state ranks, Scott Goodale's staff signed California state runner-up Luke Gayer. Prior to his senior year, Gayer finished fourth at the Super 32. That set the tone for his senior campaign, one that ended with a loss in tiebreakers in the state final.
The Rutgers coaching staff did a good job at filling potential long-term holes in the lineup with 165 and 197 (Gayer and Casale), while getting a high-ceiling "must-sign" prospect like Soldano at 174/184.
2021 Ranking: #17
2022 Class: #63 Jore Volk: 125/133 lbs (Lakeville North, MN), #73 Garrison Dendy: 149 lbs (Baylor School, TN), #74 Logan Ours: 157 lbs (Beaver Local, OH), #78 Kevin Zimmer: 285 lbs (Carl Sandburg, IL), #93 David Harper: 197 lbs (Baylor School, TN)
Key Transfers: Tyce Raddon: 184 lbs (Western Wyoming), Garrett Ricks: 125 lbs (Western Wyoming)
This group is easily the best recruiting class for Wyoming in at least a decade. For a program that typically develops overlooked gems, the Cowboy staff has a lot to work with. Not only is their incoming class more highly ranked than usual, but Mark Branch and crew have ventured out to some uncharted territory for Wyoming recruiting. Garrison Dendy and David Harper are the first big-time recruits from the southeast to venture out the Laramie. Ohio and Illinois haven't been frequent stops either. Five-time Fargo placer, Jore Volk heads up the class. He'll contribute at one of the first two weights. Ohio's Logan Ours was a big riser this year, whose stock went up after an appearance in the Ironman finals. The duo of Dendy and Harper have both placed in Fargo too. Add in the transfers, both of whom come at weighs of need and could see action right away. This group could spell trouble for the rest of the Big 12.
2021 Ranking: NR
2022 Class: #31 Nicolar Rivera: 125/133 lbs (Stoughton, WI), #32 James Rowley: 174 lbs (Crescent Valley, OR), #72 Brock Bobzien: 133 lbs (Poway, CA), #166 Mikey Tal-Shahar: 197 lbs (American Heritage, FL), #233 Felix Lettini: 149 lbs (St. Peter's, NJ), NR Ismael Ayoub: 149 lbs (Dublin Coffman, OH)
Chris Bono's team comes in right where they landed in 2021 in 14th. The Badgers continue to stockpile talent each year during the current coaching staff's tenure. The 2022 class is led by the top in-state recruit, Nicolar Rivera. Rivera happens to be one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch in this senior class. He'll get to learn from a connoisseur of big moves in two-time All-American Eric Barnett. Cadet World silver medalist James Rowley is probably the most "college-ready" of the group and could be thrust into action immediately. The Oregon native is one of two top-100 recruits from the west coast coming aboard, joining California state third-place finisher Brock Bobzien. Brock joined Rowley on the Cadet World team, as he competed in Greco. Mikey Tal-Shahar and Felix Lettini both broke into the top eight at the Super 32 in 2021. Overall, this is another solid class for Bono and company.
2021 Ranking: #14
2022 Class: #37 Mac Stout: 197 lbs (Mt. Lebanon, PA), #40 Dayton Pitzer: 285 lbs (Mount Pleasant, PA), #94 Jared Keslar: 157 lbs (Connellsville, PA), #137 Codie Cuerbo: 125 lbs (Aurora, OH), #150 Briar Priest: 149 lbs (Hempfield, PA), #231 Kelin Laffey: 174 lbs (Pine-Richland, PA)
Key Transfers: Dazjon Casto: 157 lbs (The Citadel), Holden Heller: 165 lbs (Hofstra), Reece Heller: 174 lbs (Hofstra)
Before Keith Gavin's arrival, the question surrounding Pitt was "How good could they be if they keep local kids home." Those efforts have increased under the leadership of the Panthers most recent national champion and this class features three top-100 recruits from Western Pennsylvania. Though he wasn't able to capture a PA title, Mac Stout heads up this impressive group based on a 16U freestyle finals appearance in Fargo, along with a Powerade title this year. The other two top-100 recruits, Dayton Pitzer and Jared Keslar, were state champs in 2022. Keslar finally ascended to the top step, while Pitzer grabbed his third state crown. Ohio's Codie Cuerbo is a two-time Fargo All-American, while Briar Priest made a pair of PA state finals (winning as a junior). Finally, Kelin Laffey came on strong as a senior, finishing sixth at the state tournament and third at the Powerade. He could be a prospect with a lot of upside.
The Panthers will get some immediate help from the transfer portal as they could solidify 157-174 with transfers. Dazjon Casto was one of the stories of Thursday from the NCAA Tournament as he stunned returning national champion, Austin O'Connor, in the first round. Holden Heller was a 2021 EIWA champion, who redshirted last season. His brother, Reece, redshirted as well and put up a 12-4 record.
2021 Ranking: NR
16) North Carolina
2022 Class: #41 Danny Nini: 141 lbs (Lake Highland Prep, FL), #49 Jayden Scott: 157 lbs (Rush-Henrietta, NY), #52 Cole Hunt: 125 lbs (Dalton, GA), #65 Noah Pettigrew: 197 lbs (Valdosta, GA), #165 Nick Fea: 165 lbs (Bergen Catholic, NJ), NR Max Martin: 125 lbs (Great Bridge, VA), NR Cade Tenold: 174/184 lbs (Don Bosco, IA), NR Carson Tenold: 165/174 lbs (Don Bosco, IA)
You've got to love the recruiting strategy from the UNC staff. They have been "in" on the burgeoning Georgia wrestling scene for a while and continue to get top-100 talent with Cole Hunt and Noah Pettigrew. Hunter, along with Max Martin, lends depth at a weight class North Carolina hasn't qualified for nationals since 2014 and only twice since 2006. Hunt and Pettigrew were both Junior Freestyle AA's last summer in Fargo. The Tar Heels also hit up a couple of consistent power programs in Lake Highland Prep and Bergen Catholic, for Danny Nini and Nick Fea. Nini was third at the Super 32 and Ironman, while Fea made the state finals during his only year wrestling in New Jersey. Top-50 prospect Jayden Scott was a three-time New York state finalist and a champion as a senior. He may get overlooked, a bit, but has placed at the Super 32 in 2020. Finally, the UNC coaches broke through in Iowa and signed the Tenold twins, Cade and Carson. Each was a state champion in 2022 and combined they appeared in five Iowa 1A state title bouts. Their commitment could lead to more Iowa kids in the future.
2021 Ranking: #21
2022 Class: #20 Ryan Crookham: 133/141 lbs (Saucon Valley, PA), #68 Caden Rogers: 197 lbs (Malvern Prep, PA), #103 Kimo Leia: 149 lbs (Selma, CA), #133 Kelvin Griffin: 149 lbs (The Hill School, PA), NR Remy Brancato: 285 lbs (Bergen Catholic, NJ), NR Enzo Morlacci: 174 lbs (Kiski Area, PA), NR Owen Quinn: 165/174 lbs (Malvern Prep, PA), NR Owen Reinsel: 133/141 lbs (Brookville, PA)
Key Transfer: Michael Beard: 197 lbs (Penn State)
Lehigh won big with the signing of local star Ryan Crookham. Once regarded as possibly the best wrestler in the Class of 2022, Crookham battled through some injuries during the second half of his high school career. He's still managed to win three Pennsylvania state titles, though he doesn't have much in the way of recent national credentials. As an eighth-grader, in 2017, Crookham was the first middle schooler to win the high school division at the Super 32. Depending on health/weight of some Lehigh returners, Crookham could go right away. The other top-100 recruit for Lehigh is three-time National Prep top-three finisher Caden Rogers. Rogers was top-five in both styles at the Junior division last year in Fargo. We'll see where he fits in as 2021 All-American Michael Beard is transferring in from Penn State. Beard has three years of eligibility remaining and will be a national title threat immediately. Remember the rest of the names from Lehigh's class as the staff has done a remarkable job at developing under-the-radar talent. There's a good likelihood that one of two of them could emerge to outwrestle their pre-collegiate ranking.
2021 Ranking: NR
2021 Class: #26 Martin Cosgrove: 197 lbs (Camden Catholic, NJ), #61 Andrew Troczynski: 149/157 lbs (Delbarton, NJ), #120 Evan Mougalian: 125/133 lbs (Kinnelon, NJ), #146 Jackson Polo: 141 lbs (Cold Spring Harbor, NY), #192 Alex Almeyda: 141/149 lbs (St. Joseph's, NJ), #202 Brady Pruett: 125 lbs (Archbishop Spalding, MD), #218 Jude Swisher: 149/157 lbs (Bellefonte, PA), NR Andrew Connelly: 184 lbs (Malvern Prep, PA), NR Evan Bennett: 174 lbs (St. Edward, OH), NR Louis Colaiocco: 157/165 lbs (Blair Academy, NJ), NR Matthew Cruise: 285 lbs (Easton, PA), NR Adam Thompson: 157/165 lbs (Bishop Carroll, Alberta)
The great classes continue to roll in for Roger Reina and the Penn staff. Like others in past few years, this group features a little bit of home state flavor (Swisher, Connelly, Cruise), combined with national power programs (Bennett, Colaiocco), and a lot of NJSIAA stars (Cosgrove, Troczynski, Mougalian, Almeyda). Cosgrove, Troczynski, and Mougalian were two-time state champions, while Almeyda placed four times (three times at fourth or above). Two of the fast risers in this group are Jackson Polo and Evan Bennett, both of whom finished their senior campaign's with a state title.
With NCAA qualifiers returning at nine of the ten weights, it may be a year or two before some of these recruits make an impact collegiately for Penn. No matter how it shakes out, there will be plenty of great options for the Penn coaching staff in the near future, in large part because of the 2022 class.
2021 Ranking: #23
19) Little Rock
2022 Class: #45 Kyle Dutton: 149 lbs (Liberty, MO), #54 Brennan Van Hoecke: 149 lbs (Palmetto Ridge, FL), #95 Brendon Abdon: 157 lbs (Lake Gibson, FL), #118 Keith Miley: 285 lbs (Whitfield, MO), #144 Kodiak Cannedy: 165 lbs (Greenville, TN), #161 Stephen Little: 184 lbs (Union County, KY), #222 Chance Davis: 174 lbs (Enid, OK), NR Cael Keck: 125 lbs (Park Hill, MO)
Little Rock is still very much in the building phase as the 2022-23 season will be their fourth of actual DI competition. This large, talented class should continue to lay the foundation for future generations of Trojan wrestlers. With three top-100 recruits and six from the top-200, there are plenty of possible year-one starters for Neil Erisman's team, if that is in the plans. Little Rock's recruiting class left an impression on the latest Walsh Ironman tournament, as four future Trojans (Dutton, Van Hoecke, Abdon, Little) placed amongst the top eight at the national best regular-season event. Brennan Van Hoecke also finished his high school season with a title at NHSCA Senior Nationals. Big man Keith Miley placed at the Super 32 on three occasions, the most recent of which included a trip to the finals. The Little Rock staff has stuck to some of their hot spots with this class, going heavy on states like Missouri and Florida, while mixing in Oklahoma, too.
2021 Ranking: NR
2022 Class: #42 Ty Whalen: 149 lbs (Clearview Regional, NJ), #75 Rocco Camillaci: 149 lbs (Hilton, NY), #76 Kole Mulhauser: 184 lbs (Central Square, NY), #226 Chris Martino: 141 lbs (Bishop Kelley, ID)
Compared to some others, Princeton's recruiting class may be small in numbers, but there's plenty of talent. The Tigers sweet spot for recruiting tends to be New Jersey/New York and they hit up that area and returned with three top-100 recruits. Two-time state finalist Ty Whalen has finished third at the Super 32, the Beast and Fargo Junior freestyle, within the last year. Rocco Camillaci won a state title after finishing third in two prior attempts. He also made the Junior freestyle podium in Fargo with a seventh-place showing. The second New York state champion on board is Kole Mulhauser, who has undergone a big growth spurt during high school. He started at 120 lbs, as a freshman, and finished at 182 lbs. His best national-level finish is a sixth-place mark at the Super 32 last fall. Speaking of recruits filling out, Chris Martino placed in both styles in Fargo at the 16U level at 88 and 94 lbs. This year Martino was sixth at the Ironman. Based on how they handle the first couple of months on campus, a few of these freshmen could see the lineup next year for Princeton as they seek Ivy and EIWA titles.
2021 Ranking: NR
2022 Class: #18 Danny Wask: 165/174 lbs (Blair Academy, NJ), #86 Jonathan Ley: 157 lbs (Lake Highland Prep, FL), #113 Evan Tallmadge: 125 lbs (Brick Memorial, NJ), #132 Brennen Cernus: 133 lbs (Pickerington, OH), #188 Jamier Ferere: 285 lbs (High Point, NC), #223 Nick Vafiadis: 157 lbs (New Kent, VA), #249 James Latona: 149 lbs (Thompson, AL), NR Matt Colajezzi: 165/174 lbs (Council Rock South, PA), NR Devon Deem: 157 lbs (Montgomery, PA), NR Brian Gordon: 174 lbs (South County, VA), NR Zyan Hall: 174 lbs (Wheeler, GA)
The Naval Academy's recruiting efforts have continued to shine under the leadership of third-year head coach Cary Kolat. Though his reputation is legendary in Pennsylvania, Kolat has a household name, which is beneficial as the Academy recruits on a national basis. Their top prospect is one that has risen sharply up the recruiting rankings within the last year in Danny Wask. Even though Wask moved up a couple of weights last year, it didn't stop him from making the Fargo Junior finals in freestyle and taking seventh in Greco. Wask continued growing, going from 152 over the summer to the 170 range during the regular high school season. That didn't limit his effectiveness, as he was a Beast champion and a finalist at the Powerade. The second top-100 recruit in this class is Jonathan Ley. Also a Beast winner, Ley placed top-four at the Super 32 twice. The future teammates, Wask and Ley, met in the 2022 National Prep finals and it was Wask, who came out on top, 5-1.
Outside of the top-100 recruits, there's plenty of potential for this class. Evan Tallmadge is a two-time New Jersey state champ, Brennen Cernus is a former Super 32 placer, Jamier Ferere made the finals of NHSCA Seniors, Nick Vafiadis was a Fargo Cadet finalist, and James Latona won NHSCA Seniors. 2022 marks back-to-back strong recruiting classes for Kolat and staff, which will only help Navy in an ever-improving EIWA.
2021 Ranking: #18
22) Oregon State
2022 Class: #44 Gabe Whisenhunt: 133 lbs (Crescent Valley, OR), #88 CJ Hamblin: 174 lbs (Seton Catholic, WA), #101 Noah Tolentino: 149 lbs (Poway, CA), #105 Nash Singleton: 141 lbs (Roseburg, OR), #114 Isaiah Anderson: 197 lbs (Chiawana, WA), #151 Ayden Garver: 141 lbs (Newburg, OR), #173 Damion Elliott: 133 lbs (Del Oro, CA), #225 Chase DeBlaere: 141/149 lbs (Simley, MN), NR Austin Scott: 157 lbs (Mountain View, AZ)
Key Transfer: Tristan Lara: 149 lbs (Northern Iowa)
Oregon State is another program that has seen a sharp uptick in its recruiting results with a relatively new coaching staff. Chris Pendleton's team has made keeping Oregon's stud home a priority and the results are evident with three of the top 151 hailing from Oregon and choosing to stay in-state. Not only that, but the OSU staff has also staked their claim on the Pacific Northwest, with two big boarder's from Washington, along with making inroads at talent-rich California.
Three-time Fargo All-American Gabe Whisenhunt leads the Oregon State Class of 2022. Not only was keeping Whisenhunt home important, but he attends powerful, local, Crescent Valley, a school the Beaver staff will need to hit up time and time again. Whisenhunt and Ayden Garver finished as four-time Oregon state champions, while Nash Singleton won three. The other top-100 recruit in the class was CJ Hamblin, a double 16U All-American in Fargo that initially verballed to Northern Colorado. The California contingent includes UWW Cadet freestyle AA Noah Tolentino and Damion Elliott, both top-six finishers at the state tournament this year.
This class should continue the momentum established in Detroit as the Beavers left with four All-Americans.
2021 Ranking: NR
23) Army West Point
2022 Class: #80 Austin Kohlhofer: 285 lbs (Delta, OH), #89 Braden Basile: 133/141 lbs (Tampa Jesuit, FL), #125 Dakota Morris: 165/174 lbs (Kingsway, NJ), #143 Gunner Filipowicz: 174 lbs (Woodward Academy, GA), #155 Evan Anderson: 285 lbs (Aurora, OH), #212 Ben Rogers: 149 lbs (Wantagh, NY), #213 Oscar Aranda: 157/165 lbs (St. John Bosco, CA), NR Gage Cook: 197/285 lbs (Granger, WA), NR Nick Corday: 125 lbs (Baylor School, TN), NR Cole Karpinski: 184/197 lbs (Greenville, PA), Tommy Link: 125 lbs (Malvern Prep, PA), NR Kent McCombs: 157 lbs (Clinton, MI), Jaime Rivera: 141 lbs (Sunnyside, AZ)
Even after losing their primary recruiting specialist, Ned Shuck, to the Bellarmine head coaching position, Army West Point hasn't missed a beat on the recruiting trail. It helps that head coach Kevin Ward brought in Scott Green, who had previously led National Prep power Wyoming Seminary for the past decade.
The top-ranked recruit for the Black Knights is two-time Ohio champion Austin Kohlhofer. Austin had a breakout year in 2021-22 and rose into the top-80 nationally. Right behind him is #89 Braden Basile, a third-place finisher at the Ironman, who was sixth in Junior freestyle last summer in Fargo.
This group is likely to cover just about every weight class once they make their way to West Point. A large class such as this one isn't necessarily about "need-filling," but rather just getting as much talent in the room and letting the cream rise to the top.
2021 Ranking: #24
2022 Class: #36 John Wiley: 165 lbs (Mustang, OK), #51 Joey Cruz: 125 lbs (Bullard, CA), #227 Christian Forbes: 125 lbs (Broken Arrow, OK)
Key Transfers: Wyatt Henson: 133/141 lbs (Iowa), Gerrit Nijenhuis: 174 lbs (Purdue), Jack Wagner: 133 lbs (Northern Iowa)
The Sooners Class of 2022 is quite small compared to some others, but is unique and will be helpful in its own way. Getting a top-50 in-state recruit like John Wiley is always a win for the Sooners. The 2019 double Fargo champion won two Oklahoma titles, but was a part of some incredibly brutal weight classes in 2021 and 2022. Wiley appears to fill a big long-term need for the Sooners at 165. With Joey Prata coming back for another year at 125, it gives his possible successors, Joey Cruz and Christian Forbes, an opportunity to adjust to DI wrestling. Cruz was a three-time top-three finisher in California and a state champion as a senior. In the fall, Cruz was selected to wrestle in the Who's #1 dual meet. Forbes placed in Fargo five times during his high school career.
Oklahoma will also get a boost from transfers. Typically, you don't give transfers the same potential impact as incoming freshmen, since they may have limited eligibility. However, Wyatt Henson was the #16 overall recruit last year and has four years of eligibility after going 18-2 competing unattached for Iowa. Henson may be the answer at 133 or 141. Though he's already participated in two NCAA Championship events, Gerrit Nijenhuis has three years of eligibility remaining and fits in well at 174 lbs. Graduate transfer, Jack Wagner, had a winner year for Northern Iowa in 2021-22 and could be in the mix to start next season.
2021 Ranking: #11
25) Northern Iowa
2021 Class: #29 Cory Land: 125 lbs (Moody, AL), #70 Wyatt Voelker: 197 lbs (West Delaware, IA), #119 Chet Buss: 285 lbs (North Butler-Clarksville, IA), NR Trever Anderson: 125/133 (Ankeny, IA), NR Ryder Downey: 149 lbs (Indianola, IA), NR Garrett Funk: 125/133 lbs (Don Bosco, IA)
Since his arrival in Cedar Falls, Doug Schwab has made it a priority to retain Iowa high schoolers. He's continued the trend by getting a pair of top 150 recruits in Wyatt Voelker and Chet Buss. The two could develop into the anchors at the end of the Panthers lineup. Though those weights don't appear to be pressing needs, it's always good to have a pair of recruits of that caliber sign on. Both were two-time state champions.
Schwab and his staff ventured outside to the state borders and Landed a huge signee in Cory Land. The 2021 Cadet Greco world silver medalist made the Super 32 finals on two occasions and placed top-three at the event three times. He also was dominant in his home state with four Alabama state titles.
2021 Ranking: NR
Next Five: Cal Poly, Columbia, North Dakota State, Minnesota, South Dakota State