2022 CIF State Champion MJ Gaitan (Photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
As we enter April, we are coming down the home stretch for recruiting in the Class of 2022. Many of the top recruits have been spoken for; however, there are some excellent prospects still on the market, looking for a home. Additionally, many coaches have already turned their attention toward the Class of 2023 and there are plenty of verbals from that group. Below are some of the notable wrestlers that have given commitments within the last week. There is a mix of juniors and seniors in the group.
(Navy) Dylan Elmore - St. Thomas Aquinas, KS
The Naval Academy got a major commitment from the Class of 2023 as two-time Kansas state finalist and one-time champion, Dylan Elmore, pledged to Cary Kolat's team. Elmore is currently ranked #119 on the Junior Big Board. His state title came this year at 160 lbs in Kansas' 5A bracket. Before his junior season, Elmore finished in eighth place in Fargo at the Junior freestyle tournament. He also was fourth in Greco-Roman at UWW Cadets. Recently, Dylan was an NHSCA Junior National runner-up at 160 lbs. Elmore projects at 165/174 for Navy.
(Iowa State) MJ Gaitan - Temecula Valley, CA
Earlier this year, MJ Gaitan committed to stay in-state and compete for Cal Baptist. Later he reopened the recruiting process and landed at Iowa State. The prior week, Gaitain's high school teammate, Ethan Perryman, committed to the Cyclones, as well. Gaitan recently capped his high school career off with a California state title at 160 lbs. In MatScouts recent rankings update, Gaitan ascended to the top spot in the nation at the weight. Within the last year, Gaitan has won a Junior National Greco-Roman title in Fargo, the Super 32, and the Doc Buchanan. He should be in the mix at 165 or 174 lbs for the Cyclones. 165 is especially useful, considering it was the only weight in which Iowa State did not qualify for nationals in 2022.
(Chattanooga) Sergio Desiante - Tampa Jesuit, FL
Chattanooga kept a top-200 stud in the south as they got a verbal commitment from Sergio Desiante. Sergio was a part of a strong senior nucleus that led Jesuit to its first Florida Individual State title. He chipped in with a title at 195 lbs. It was Desiante's first title after progressing a step higher on the podium in each of his four years of high school. Desiante has placed twice at the NHSCA grade-level tournament during his career. He was fifth as a freshman and senior his junior year. Sergio also was a winner at the Knockout Classic this year. Desiante could be the successor for Matthew Waddell at 197 lbs for the Mocs. Waddell was a SoCon champion this year at that weight, after qualifying for nationals twice at 184 lbs. There hasn't been a public announcement regarding Waddell's status for the 2022-23 season.
(Oregon State) DJ Gillett - Crescent Valley, OR
The Oregon State staff got their Class of 2023 off to a great start by keeping one of their best local products at home with DJ Gillett. Gillett is already a three-time Oregon state champion and has good credentials outside of his home state. During the high school season, Gillette was fifth at the Doc Buchanan and sixth at the Reno Tournament of Champions. Gillette's best finishes in the international styles have come in Greco, as he was third in 16U in Fargo in 2019 and fifth at UWW Cadet's last year. He likely slots in at either 141 or 149 for the Beavers. As of now, 141 looks a bit crowded with a handful of incoming freshmen; however, 149 looks like more of a long-term need.
(North Dakota State) Damian Mendez - Dodge City, KS
NHSCA Senior National Champion is a great addition to an already strong Class of 2022 for the North Dakota State Bison. Mendez is a four-time Kansas state finalist and three-time champion. In each of the last two years, he's won a 6A state title at 132 lbs. Last year, Mendez placed at the NHSCA grade-level tournament, when he took fourth place at 126 in the Junior tournament. Mendez projects at either of the first two weights. Neither is a pressing need, so he could have the opportunity to redshirt during his first year in Fargo. Mendez has a successful past in that town, as he placed seventh in both styles at the 16U level in 2019.