Hayden Walters at the 2021 Walsh Ironman (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
We've got an early leader in the race for the top billing with the recruiting rankings for the Class of 2023. Michigan already has an impressive haul, yet continued to add to its group with a verbal commitment from #42 Hayden Walters (Crescent Valley, OR). Walters is a three-time Oregon state champion and one of three Crescent Valley wrestlers who can win their fourth in 2023. His most recent title came at 195 lbs. Walters has been an instrumental part of a high school team that has won an Oregon 5A state championship in each year of his career.
Outside of Oregon, Walters has an impressive resume. During the 2021-22 season, Walters was third at the Walsh Ironman and a runner-up at the Doc Buchanan. In preseason action, Walters has finished fifth at the Ironman in each of the last two years. Last summer, in Fargo, Walters finished third at the Junior Freestyle tournament. Hayden advanced to the national semifinals before suffering a 4-1 loss to the eventual champion, TJ Stewart. Walters rebounded to defeat Clayton Whiting (Wisconsin) in his next contest. Whiting made headlines last year by downing Iowa national qualifier, Abe Assad, in open tournament competition.
Walters will join former high school teammate Chance Lamer in Ann Arbor. The #8 overall recruit in the Class of 2021, Lamer amassed a 17-2 record competing unattached this year. For more on Lamer's redshirt season.
With Walters on board, Michigan now has five top-50 recruits in the fold, including four of the top 25. They are #10 Beau Mantanona (CA), #14 Dylan Gilcher (MI), #23 Caden Horwath (MI), and #24 Sergio Lemley (IL/IN).
Walters projects as a 197 lber at the next level. That could be useful provided 2022 blue-chipper Rylan Rogers (ID) stays down at 184 lbs. As of now, the Wolverines starter at 197 lbs in 2022-23 is sixth-year wrestler JT Correll, with Bobby Striggow (two years of eligibility) and Brendin Yatooma (three years of eligibility) in the mix.
For all of the recruiting commitments, check out our commitment page.