Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands (sort of) discusses Spencer Lee's schedule for the 2019-20 season. Hawk Central
The Iowa wrestling program has made plenty of noise over the past month on the recruiting trail, but its most recent addition has come by way of the transfer portal.
And it’s a big one.
Jaydin Eierman, a three-time All-American from Missouri, announced that he’s transferring to join the Iowa wrestling program. Eierman is currently taking an Olympic redshirt and will have one year of eligibility remaining for 2020-21.
“I’m committing to the University of Iowa because of its tradition and love for the sport,” Eierman wrote in his announcement. “I wanted a place that could take my career further after college and I feel that this is the best opportunity for me. I believe that the coaching staff at Iowa can take me to the next level.
“I’m on the same mission, same me, same color, a better feel. Get ready Hawkeye nation!!”
In Eierman, the Hawkeyes are getting a national title contender. He competed at 141 pounds during his three years at Mizzou, during which he won three straight Mid-American Conference titles and two straight MAC Wrestler of the Year awards. He also finished fifth, fourth and third at the NCAA Championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Eierman is known for his innovative, aggressive wrestling style, a mix of explosive and entertaining with a small hint of funk. It works. He won 89 matches while at Missouri with a 67% bonus rate — recording 38 wins by fall, 12 by major decision and another 10 by technical superiority.
Even more, Eierman was a regular on the freestyle circuit as well. In 2018, he took second at the U.S. Open and finished third on the Senior-level men’s freestyle ladder at 65 kilograms (143 pounds) behind Logan Stieber and Joey McKenna. This past year, he wrestled at the U23 men’s freestyle world championships, where he went 1-1 at 65 kilos.
When Eierman first entered the transfer portal earlier this month, it sent shockwaves through the wrestling community. He became a star at Father Tolton High School in Columbia, right down the street from the University of Missouri. He went 158-0 and won four state titles. He became the 25th high-schooler in state history to win four titles, and just the second to do so while going unbeaten.
As a Tiger, he became the face of the program, leading Missouri to three straight sixth-place finishes at the NCAA Championships. But he sought a better training situation, one that included the potential to chase his freestyle aspirations after graduation.
Iowa offers that with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, where many former stars — Thomas Gilman, Cory Clark, Sam Brooks, Sam Stoll, among others — are training in the Olympic disciplines. Eierman said when he announced his intent to transfer that Missouri does not offer the same opportunities, which was part of why he wanted to leave.
As it turns out, Iowa was a place Eierman always admired from afar, but never explored. His recruiting process was short, committing to Missouri before the start of his senior high school season. Now he’ll be swapping the Tigers’ black and gold for another shade of the same colors for his final collegiate season.
By taking his Olympic redshirt, he can transfer without having to sit a year and can contribute to the Hawkeyes starting in 2020-21. But the addition does present a small logjam with Iowa’s lineup.
If he stays at 141, that would force the likes of Max Murin and Carter Happel, among others, to look elsewhere for an avenue into the starting lineup. Murin has previously talked about eventually bumping up to 149, where the likes of Zach Axmear and Cobe Siebrecht reside.
If Eierman bumps up a weight — Pat Lugo, a 2019 All-American at 149 pounds, is a senior this year — Murin and Happel, as well as Justin Stickley, might stay at 141. It’s also possible that Austin DeSanto, an All-American at 133, could grow into 141, an idea he reportedly was interested in when he first transferred in from Drexel ahead of the 2018-19 season.
All of that will be solved in time. Eierman, of course, is an immediate-impact, plug-and-go type of wrestler. He makes the Hawkeyes better and will only add to the program’s overall excitement heading into the 2020-21 season.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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