CJ Walrath, a state champ from Burlington-Notre Dame, commits to Northern Iowa wrestling

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

The Northern Iowa wrestling program continued its in-state recruiting success this week by snagging another major commitment.

CJ Walrath, a senior at West Burlington-Notre Dame, announced his commitment to the Panthers. Walrath is the second known member of Northern Iowa's 2023 recruiting class and the eighth in-state senior in the 2023 class to commit to a Division I program.

"When I went on my visit there the team was fun to hang around and I felt right at home," Walrath told the Register. "I have a lot in common with the guys and it seemed like a family.

"The coaches are awesome and when I’m talking to them I feel like I’m talking to the coaches I have now, which is awesome because I have a great relationship with my high school coaches."

Walrath is a fast-rising big man prospect. He is considered the No. 54 overall prospect in the 2023 class by MatScouts and is currently ranked No. 14 nationally at 182 pounds. He is the fifth-highest rated senior in the state's 2023 senior class.

He projects at 184 pounds for the Panthers, a weight class at which the program has found plenty of success over the years, with Drew Foster winning an NCAA title in 2019 and Parker Keckeisen becoming a two-time All-American in his first two seasons.

This past season, Walrath went 57-0 and won the Class 2A state title at 182 pounds, a huge part of the Nikes' 2A team title. The year before, he went 49-1 and took third at 170. He's compiled a three-year high school record of 148-9 entering his senior season.

Nationally, Walrath has only just scratched the surface of his potential. He recently took third at USA Wrestling's national recruiting showcase event in April. Last fall, he went 5-3 and took eighth at the Super 32 Challenge, consistently regarded as one of the toughest high school tournaments in the country.

Walrath joins Nashua-Plainfield lightweight Garret Rinken in Northern Iowa's 2023 recruiting class.

CJ Walrath, a state champion for Burlington-Notre Dame, announced his commitment to Northern Iowa this week.

Iowa high school wrestling, 2023 college commitments

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.