Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands recaps the Hawkeyes' medal matches at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Hawk Central
Minnesota prep Ryan Sokol made waves last October when he became the nation's first 2021 wrestler to announce his college decision. At the time, he gave his pledge to Tom Brands and the Iowa wrestling program.
On Monday, Sokol informed the Des Moines Register that he has decided to decommit from the Hawkeyes and re-open his recruitment.
"It was a hard choice," Sokol wrote in a text message to the Register. "The Iowa community was great to me. I just wanted to open up my recruitment a bit and see what's out there."
Sokol, a rising-junior at Simley Senior High School outside of St. Paul, is among the country's best prospects. Flowrestling considers him the No. 10 overall wrestler in the 2021 recruiting class. He won a Cadet men's freestyle national title in 2017 and made the Cadet men's freestyle world team this past summer at 65 kilograms (143 pounds).
His accomplishments made him an easy centerpiece around which Iowa could build its 2021 class. His de-commitment changes those plans. Many of the nation's best Division I programs will be clamoring for his services. Sokol took a visit to Ohio State last weekend, where past Simley teammate Greg Kerkvliet is a true freshman.
► MORE IOWA WRESTLING COVERAGE FROM THE DES MOINES REGISTER
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- Flowrestling's "Who's Number One" showcase event coming to Iowa City
- Iowa wrestling recruits win big at Junior men's freestyle national championships
- Gavin Teasdale, a one-time Iowa wrestling commit, says he's joining the program
Sokol did not rule out the possibility of signing with Iowa in the future. He will be in Iowa City twice this fall — on Oct. 5, for Flowrestling's "Who's Number One" showcase event, where he'll compete for the No. 1 ranking at 138 pounds; and again on Oct. 19, for an official visit with the Iowa wrestling program.
"I still plan on taking my official out there," Sokol told the Register.
What's more, Sokol had an in-person visit with Iowa's coaching staff last week. Both assistant coach Ryan Morningstar and associate head coach Terry Brands made the trip to Minnesota to visit with Sokol, who posted a picture of the meeting on his Instagram account.
Prior to his decision to decommit Monday, Sokol was one of just five 2021 wrestlers in Flowrestling's top 150 to announce a college decision. With college football season on the horizon and two years of high school still remaining, a busy recruiting process awaits him.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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