Southeast Polk star wrestler Cade DeVos commits to South Dakota State

Cody Goodwin
The Des Moines Register

One of Iowa’s top high school wrestlers recently made his college decision — and he’s headed out of state.

Cade DeVos, a 2018 state champion for Southeast Polk, told the Des Moines Register he has committed to wrestle collegiately at South Dakota State University. DeVos picked the Jackrabbits over Iowa, Iowa State and a handful of out-of-state programs. He projects at 165/174 pounds.

“I felt like SDSU just fit me the best,” DeVos told the Register on Saturday morning. “I didn’t want to be a plane ride away from home, either.”

Cade DeVos, a senior at Southeast Polk, told the Register on Saturday that he committed to wrestle at South Dakota State University for college. DeVos is a two-time state finalist and 2018 state champion for the Rams, and considered one of the nation's best prep wrestlers.

DeVos is considered one of the country’s best wrestlers at his weight. The senior is ranked 11th nationally at 145 pounds, according to Flowrestling, and ninth at the same weight by The Open Mat. He is the second Southeast Polk senior to announce his plans to wrestle Division I after high school — Lance Runyon, a three-time state medalist for both the Rams and Indianola, will wrestle at Northern Iowa.

Recently, DeVos was a double All-American at the Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, last month, taking seventh in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at 145 pounds. He also took fifth at the UWW Cadet World Team Trials in June at 65 kilograms (roughly 143 pounds).

Here in Iowa, DeVos has been a terror on the mat. He is a two-time state finalist for the Rams, placing second at 132 pounds as a sophomore and winning the individual crown at 145 last season. He carries a 125-7 career record into his senior season, according to records compiled by Trackwrestling.


DeVos will be joining a rising program in South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits took 12th at the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships, scoring 42 points behind seven qualifiers and three All-Americans — headlined by Seth Gross, who won an individual title at 133 pounds. Even more, Henry Pohlmeyer and Zach Price, both former Iowa prep wrestlers from Johnston, are on the roster, and Ballard senior Skyler Noftsger will also join DeVos in South Dakota State’s 2019 recruiting class. 

DeVos initially took a visit to Brookings, South Dakota, when Chris Bono was still the head coach. Bono, a former Iowa State wrestler, was instrumental in helping South Dakota State’s rise on the Division I wrestling scene. DeVos was amazed at the support surrounding the program.

“It doesn’t seem like a big place, but it’s crazy,” DeVos said. “It kind of reminded me of Southeast Polk — everyone is so into wrestling there.”

MORE CADE DEVOS:Southeast Polk star takes aim at the world team

But Bono left to coach Wisconsin last March. A month later, former Cornell assistant Damion Hahn was introduced as the new head coach. Shortly after, Hahn and assistant Cody Caldwell reached out to DeVos.

The hire upped DeVos’s intrigue. Hahn helped coach Cornell NCAA Champions Gabe Dean, Kyle Dake and, most recently, Yianni Diakomihalis. Further, Caldwell is a former Waverly-Shell Rock star and an NCAA qualifier at Northern Iowa. The academics were a plus, too — DeVos wants to be a pharmacist, and South Dakota State’s program is among the best.

“I felt like they were the best fit for me academically and athletically,” DeVos said.

Southeast Polk's 145-lb Cade DeVos wrestles during the Iowa High School State Finals Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

After speaking with Hahn, DeVos was sold. He made his decision Friday night, and informed the Register on Saturday morning. With his decision out of the way, he will now turn his attention to his senior year with the Rams — he said he’ll wrestle anywhere from 152 to 170, depending on how his body grows.

As it happens, those heavier middle weights are some of the deepest on the South Dakota State roster. Of the 28 wrestlers on the 2017-18 roster, eight are listed at 165 and 174 pounds. DeVos can’t wait to throw his hat in the ring.

“They just know wrestling,” DeVos said. “When I heard coach Hahn speak, I could tell he cared about us and could help get me to the next level. He’s worked with guys like Dean, Dake and Yianni, so I knew he could get me to the next level.”

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