Nebraska state wrestling champion picks Hawkeyes

Andy Hamilton
Nebraska state champion Cade Brownlee committed Monday to Iowa.

Cade Brownlee had no intentions of wrestling in college when his sophomore season ended, let alone at a program of Iowa’s ilk.

On most days, he’d work out once. Sometimes he’d take the day off. When his Omaha Creighton Prep High School team finished practice, his afternoon on the mat was done as well.

Brownlee fell short of qualifying for the Nebraska state tournament as a sophomore. He wasn’t on anybody's college radar then. But he’s headed to Iowa now.

The Nebraska state champion committed to the Hawkeyes on Monday. He also heard from Arizona State, Nebraska-Kearney, Morningside and Hastings College.

“I really loved the atmosphere and the brotherhood of the team and the style (Iowa coaches Tom and Terry Brands) brought,” Brownlee said. “I just love it there. It feels like a place I belong.”

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Iowa City is where Brownlee’s wrestling future took a turn in a different direction. His high school coach, Chas DeVetter, is a former Hawkeye who takes his wrestlers to Iowa’s summer camp.

Brownlee arrived as a wrestler who admittedly said his “work ethic was really off.” He left more motivated than ever.

“I’m more determined (now),” he said. “I’m waking up early every morning, getting two, three workouts a day, doing all the things I need to do to take care of my body and being smart about it.”

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Brownlee went 34-5 as a junior and won a state title at 182 pounds. He said he’ll likely wrestle at 174 or 184 in college.

Brownlee is believed to be the third wrestler to commit to Iowa’s 2016 class, joining three-time Ohio state champion Alex Marinelli and Pennsylvanian Kaleb Young.