The newest Campbell verbal Aaron Ries in Fargo; Photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
Last week, InterMat looked closely at the Class of 2023 recruiting for the SoCon. Atop the conference rankings was Campbell University with a pair of wrestlers on the Big Board. Only ten days into July, head coach Scotti Sentes’ team appears to be running away from the rest of the conference in the race for the recruiting crown for the Class of 2024.
The Camels also look like they may be worthy of mention in the 2024 recruiting rankings, an honor that has slipped by the team for the past two seasons. In 2021, Campbell was noted as an honorable mention for their signing class that included five Big Boarder’s, one of which was ranked amongst the top 100.
On Sunday, the Class of 2024 continued to grow with a verbal commitment from heavyweight prospect Aaron Ries, currently ranked 96th in the class and 16th in the nation at 285 lbs. Ries’ commitment gives Campbell a pair of top-100 recruits (also #93 Kendrick Hodge) and three Big Boarder’s (#142 Brent Slade). In addition to three nationally ranked recruits, Campbell also has commitments from three other notables that warrant ranking consideration.
The Campbell staff is on a bit of a hot streak on the recruiting trail as Ries’ commitment gives the Camels three new verbals within the last seven days. They also saw Colby Crouch (Triad, IL) and Mikey Trujillo (Wyoming Seminary, PA) recently pledge to the school in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Sometimes these commitments happen in bunches, so could there be another recruit or two in the near future that sees the high-quality wrestlers committing to Sentes’ team and jumping on in the next week or two.
Ries, a 2022 16U freestyle national champion in Fargo, comes from a familiar school. He hails from Wadsworth, Ohio the same program that produced 2023 Big Board’er and Campbell signee Chris Earnest. The Campbell staff has cast a large net in the 2024 recruiting process as their current verbals hail from six different states. The South is represented by Georgia and Florida. Traditional powers Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio were tabbed, as well. Finally, Campbell has one verbal from Arizona via a Pennsylvania prep school.
In our write-up regarding the 2023 Class, we mentioned how Campbell is looking to return to the top spot in the SoCon after a year in which Appalachian State went unbeaten in dual competitions and dominated the conference tournament. That class, plus this growing group, has to put the rest of the SoCon on notice. Thus far, only three Big Board’ers have committed to SoCon schools. One has verballed to Davidson, while the other two belong to Campbell.
Having six verbal commitments at this time of year is not an easy task. Currently, only two service academies, plus Minnesota, Penn, Penn State, and Stanford, have that many. (These are only counting ones reported to InterMat. There may be others that haven’t been made public). Even with our disclaimer, the fact remains that Campbell is crushing it on the recruiting trail. Recruits obviously like what they’ve heard from the staff and are buying in.
We’re a long way from the Class of 2024 contributing on the mat, which is where this really counts; however, there’s a lot to be optimistic about if you're a fan of the Camels. Six commits. Three Big Board’ers. Two in the top 100. And more?