Hawkeyes pull prized Ohio prospect away from Buckeyes

Andy Hamilton
Two-time Ohio state champion Alex Marinelli backed out of a commitment to the Buckeyes and announced his plans to attend Iowa.

Alex Marinelli made a decision three months ago that made those around him happy.

He made a choice Monday that made himself happier.

The two-time Ohio state high school wrestling champion, regarded as one of the nation's top juniors, backed out of his commitment to Ohio State and announced his intention to join the Hawkeyes in 2016.

"It was a hard decision, but sometimes the decision that's hard is the best decision," Marinelli said. "It was a hard decision to make because my family and friends in Ohio wanted me to go to Ohio State and that was the easy thing. That was the easiest thing to do for my family, my friends and it made them happy and it made me happy, but ultimately what made me happiest was doing what's best for me, and that was Iowa."

The Hawkeyes are getting a wrestler with a 98-4 career record entering his junior season at powerhouse St. Paris Graham High School. Marinelli, who projects as a 165-pounder in college, is ranked the No. 9 overall prospect in the 2016 class by InterMat. He's the second junior to commit to the Hawkeyes in the last five weeks, joining Pennsylvanian Kaleb Young, who will likely also be around 165 in college.

Marinelli said Ohio State coaches "were upset" by his change of course and he said he understands why they would be. But he said the bond he formed with the Iowa coaches, their philosophy, style of wrestling and his longtime affinity for the Hawkeyes led to his decision change.

"I have a poster of Carver-Hawkeye in my room," he said. "I look at it every day. It was tough to choose Ohio State and go away from that. Then I realized I've always had a love for Iowa. I've watched them since I was little."