Osage wrestler Nick Fox, a state champ and All-American, commits to Northern Iowa wrestling

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

Nick Fox, Osage's star senior wrestler, announced his college decision on Wednesday, and he decided to stay close to home.

Fox announced his commitment to the Northern Iowa wrestling program. He picked the Panthers over Iowa State, among others, and projects at 165/174 pounds.

"I am extremely excited to announce I will be furthering my academic and athletic career at the University of Northern Iowa!" Fox wrote in an Instagram post, announcing his decision. "I am so excited for this opportunity and would like to thank everyone that has helped me get to this point in my career! Go panthers!!"

Fox is now the fourth member of Northern Iowa's 2023 class, all of which are in-state prospects. He joins Nashua-Plainfield's Garret Rinken, Burlington Notre Dame/West Burlington's CJ Walrath, and Lisbon's Brandon Paez. Fox is also the 17th in-state senior to commit to a Division I wrestling program.

Northern Iowa coach Doug Schwab, himself an Osage native, has built his program on talented, under-the-radar in-state prospects. But Fox may not fully fit that bill, considering his credentials over the last few seasons.

Fox is a three-time Class 2A state finalist and the 2022 state champion. He has compiled a 165-14 overall record during his high school career, which includes his 20-1 record this season. He is currently ranked No. 1 at 170 pounds in Class 2A by IAWrestle.

Additionally, Fox is ranked No. 20 nationally at 165 pounds by MatScouts. He is considered the No. 144 overall prospect in the 2023 class. His commitment gives Northern Iowa two top-150 recruits for its 2023 class (Walrath is considered No. 79.)

Nick Fox, a 2022 state champion, announced his commitment to Northern Iowa on Wednesday.

In 2021, Fox earned double All-American honors at the 16U freestyle and Greco-Roman national championships, finishing third in freestyle and second in greco. Last summer, he helped Team Iowa win titles at the Junior National Duals in both freestyle and greco. He then took sixth at the Junior greco national championships.

As such, Fox was a highly sought-after recruit. He heard from multiple schools, but quickly narrowed his choices to Northern Iowa and Iowa State because he hoped to stay close to home. He picked the Panthers primarily because of the coaching staff and team environment.

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Fox will turn his focus to the remainder of his senior season, which is shaping up to be a special one for Osage. The Green Devils are ranked No. 49 nationally in MatScouts' Fab 50 team rankings. They're also No. 1 in IAWrestle's Class 2A poll thanks to 10 ranked individuals — eight of which are ranked sixth or better.

Last month, Osage won the Battle of Waterloo, beating Class 3A's Waverly-Shell Rock, ranked No. 44 in MatScouts' Fab 50, and Don Bosco, the four-time defending Class 1A state champs. This week, they're headed to The Clash in Minnesota, an elite dual-style competition where they'll face more nationally-recognized programs.

Nick Fox, a 2022 state champion, announced his commitment to Northern Iowa on Wednesday.

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