Wrestling: Northern Iowa picks up commitment from Greco-Roman national champ
The Northern Iowa wrestling program seems to have made some strong inroads when it comes to recruiting in the southern part of the country, as another top-tier wrestler announced his commitment to the Panthers this weekend.
RJ Weston, a junior from Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga., announced his commitment to Northern Iowa on his personal Instagram on Saturday. He is the Panthers’ second 2021 commitment, joining Kansas standout Jared Simma, and projects at 157/165 pounds.
“I’m super excited to announce my Verbal Commitment to the University of Northern Iowa,” Weston wrote in his announcement. “This wouldn’t be possible without all the support from my Mom and Dad doing literally everything for me and my coaches.
“So thank you with Donavan Panone, and the rest of my level up family!! Can’t forget about my partners, wouldn’t be where I am today without you guys, love you guys like brothers!!”
Weston, who also took visits to North Carolina State and UT-Chattanooga, is the latest example of Northern Iowa’s recruiting success in the south.
The Panthers’ 2020 signing class features Ethan Basile, out of Florida, and Julian Farber, out of Georgia, two top-150 recruits. Already in the room is four-time Georgia state champ Kyle Gollhofer, Texas native Jack Skudlarczyk, the Panthers’ starter at 133, and Taylor Lujan, a three-time NCAA qualifier from Georgia who is currently ranked No. 4 nationally at 184 pounds.
Weston brings another versatile skillset and successful resume to Cedar Falls. The junior is a two-time Georgia state medalist. He took fourth as a freshman at 132 pounds, then won a title last year at 138. His career record entering this season is 101-8, according to Trackwrestling.
This past summer, Weston jumped onto the national radar with a double All-American showing at the 16U freestyle and greco national championships. He took third in freestyle and won a title in greco. He went a combined 15-1 between both styles — and actually beat Simma in the Greco finals. He’s considered the No. 147 overall prospect in the 2021 class, per MatScout.
MatScout’s current 2021 Big Board also lists another 10 wrestlers from Georgia, Florida and Texas that are among the top-150 in the class. Based on its recent recruiting history, perhaps Northern Iowa will try and go after some of those guys, too.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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