Anthony Ferrari announces commitment to Iowa wrestling program
Just days removed from the 2023 NCAA Championships, the Iowa wrestling team is already working on reshaping next season's roster. The first move came Monday, with a contentious commitment from Anthony Ferrari.
Anthony Ferrari, who announced his commitment on Instagram, is the middle Ferrari brother, between oldest brother A.J. and younger brother Angelo. They are all extremely talented wrestlers, but the two oldest brothers have been marred by off-the-mat issues.
Anthony Ferrari was considered the No. 23 overall prospect in the 2022 senior class, according to MatScouts. He won an Oklahoma state title in 2021 for Stillwater High School and reached the finals of the Super 32 Challenge. He originally committed to Oklahoma State, projecting at 157 or 165 pounds.
But Ferrari never officially enrolled or joined the Cowboy program. Last August, the Stillwater News Press reported that two misdemeanor assault and battery charges had been filed against him — charges that are still pending, according to online records.
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Could brothers Angelo and A.J. Ferrari follow Anthony to Iowa wrestling?
A.J. Ferrari took the college wrestling world by storm in 2021, when he won the 197-pound NCAA title as a true freshman for Oklahoma State. He, too, was a top-rated recruit, the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2020 class, per MatScouts. He won bronze at the 2018 Cadet men's freestyle world championships.
A.J. started the 2021-22 season 10-0, then missed the rest of the season because of injuries sustained in a car wreck in January.
The following July, A.J. was dismissed from the Oklahoma State program. A month later, prosecutors filed a sexual battery charge in Payne County District Court, according to the Oklahoman. Those charges are also still pending, according to online records.
A.J. announced on his social media channels Monday that he plans to wrestle next season, too. It's possible, after Anthony's announcement, that A.J. could follow him to Iowa City.
Angelo is a junior in high school. He is considered the No. 6 overall prospect in the 2024 class, according to MatScouts. He competed for Melissa High School in Texas last season, where he won the Walsh Ironman at 165 pounds and then a Texas state title at 175 pounds.
He projects at 165/174 and released his top five in December, naming Iowa, Iowa State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin as the final schools he's considering.
Anthony's commitment on Monday could be the first of three dominoes to fall, bringing the whole family to Iowa City. It would be a series of high-risk, high-reward moves by Iowa coach Tom Brands, who has recruited mercurial talents before, like Pat Downey, and dismissed others from his program for less, like Seth Gross.
The Hawkeyes just took second at the 2023 NCAA Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma, scoring 82.5 points behind six All-Americans. Three of them — NCAA finalist Real Woods (141), fourth-place finisher Tony Cassioppi (285), and fifth-place finisher Nelson Brands (174) — are slated to return next season.
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Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin. The Oklahoman staff contributed to this report.