Wednesday’s National Signing Day festivities revolved mostly around football, which is fair. That sport drives the bus when it comes to fan interest and popularity.
Wrestling recruiting is growing, slowly but surely. It is amplified here in Iowa, thanks to three successful Division I programs. Currently, Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa are all ranked in the top-15 of Trackwrestling’s latest national poll.
Here, we break down the 2020 signees for the Hawkeyes, Cyclones and Panthers. Many of these guys signed last month, during the early signing period. A few more may soon trickle into each class over the winter, spring and summer months, but most of the heavy lifting is done.
Summary: The Hawkeyes’ 2020 class is among the nation’s best. It includes three of the MatScout’s top 35 recruits (one of just three schools nationally to do so, along with Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech), four of the top 55 and five in the top 105.
Gabe Christenson, Southeast Polk (Iowa)
In-state wrestling fans will know Christenson well. He’s a three-time Class 3A state medalist, a 2019 state champion and a Junior All-American in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. He’s also considered the No. 105 overall 2020 recruit, according to MatScout. Projects at 197 pounds.
Patrick Kennedy, Kasson-Mantorville (Minnesota)
Kennedy committed to Iowa ahead of his junior year, and brings with him big expectations. He’s a three-time Minnesota state champ — he also took third as an eighth-grader and sixth as a seventh-grader, against high-schoolers — and won a Junior freestyle national title this past summer. MatScout considers him the No. 5 overall 2020 prospect. Projects at 165/174.
Colby Schriever, Mason City (Iowa)
Another name in-state fans should know. Colby Schriever is a two-time 3A state medalist and a 2019 state finalist. He entered his senior season with an 86-27 career record. Projects at 149.
Cullan Schriever, Mason City (Iowa)
Cullan, Colby’s twin brother, is a two-time 3A state champ, and one of the nation’s best lightweight prospects. He’s won freestyle national titles at both the Cadet and Junior levels. MatScout considers him the No. 55 overall 2020 recruit. Projects at 133.
Leif Schroeder, Bozeman (Montana)
Another Montana prep is making the trek to Iowa City (among them: Bill and Mike Zadick are from Montana). Schroeder is a three-time state champion and a past Cadet greco All-American. His first name is pronounced Layf. He projects at 141/149.
Brelit Reyna, South Dade (Florida)
One of the nation’s most-talented middleweight prospects. Reyna is a three-time Florida state champ with a 175-5 career record at the start of his senior season. He’s a Junior greco All-American, a NHSCA sophomore nationals runner-up and a Super 32 Challenge champion. Considered the No. 35 overall recruit by MatScout. Projects at 149.
Jesse Ybarra, Sunnyside (Arizona)
Add another one of the nation’s toughest lightweight wrestlers to the Hawkeye roster. Ybarra is a Cadet freestyle national champion, a Cadet world team trials finalist and won a Flowrestling’s Who’s Number One to begin his senior season as the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 120 pounds. He’s considered the No. 17 overall 2020 prospect. Projects at 125/133.
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Summary: The Cyclones’ 2020 signees may not be as well-known nationally, but it has the potential to help continue the program’s upward trend. A pair of top-100 recruits, as well as some talented in-staters, make up this group of future Iowa State wrestlers.
Cody Fisher, Woodward-Granger (Iowa)
A three-time Class 2A state finalist, a 2019 state champ and a Junior All-American in both freestyle and greco. Fisher is aiming to join the list of four-time state finalists this year, something only 63 other Iowa wrestlers have ever done. Projects at 197/285.
Ben Monroe, Ankeny Centennial (Iowa)
Like Fisher, Monroe is also a three-time state finalist, in 3A. He began his senior year with a 122-12 record, and is seeking to become Ankeny Centennial’s first state wrestling champion. Projects at 149/157.
Zachary Redding, Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior (New York)
Redding is a three-time New York state medalist and one-time state champion. He’s also a three-time NHSCA All-American, winning a title as a freshman and reaching the finals last year. Considered the No. 98 overall 2020 recruit. Projects at 125/133.
Cam Robinson, Council Rock North (Pennsylvania)
One of the nation’s fastest-rising talents. A two-time Pennsylvania state medalist and a 2019 finalist. Finished sixth at the 2019 Super 32 Challenge. MatScout ranks Robinson as the No. 66 overall 2020 prospect. Projects at 149/157.
Drew Woodley, Northfield (Minnesota)
A sneaky, under-the-radar get for the Cyclones. Woodley began his senior season with 178 career victories and reached the state finals during both his sophomore and junior seasons. Projects at 141/149.
Summary: Northern Iowa’s 2020 haul is another example of the program’s continual rise. The Panthers are one of 11 teams nationally that are bringing in three top-100 recruits. This group, in tandem with those already in the program, has a real chance to elevate UNI to new heights.
Adam Allard, West Sioux (Iowa)
A three-time 1A state champion and Junior greco All-American. Allard began his senior season with a 165-1 career record, which includes a 158-match winning streak. Only 27 wrestlers in Iowa history have won four state titles. Projects at 125/133.
Ethan Basile, Tampa Jesuit (Florida)
Basile is one of the Sunshine State’s finest. He’s a three-time state medalist, a 2019 state champion and began his senior season with 173 career victories. He also won an NHSCA junior national title. MatScout considers him the No. 87 overall 2020 recruit. Projects at 157.
Julian Farber, Veterans (Georgia)
The most-recent addition to Northern Iowa’s 2020 class. Farber is a three-time Georgia state medalist and a two-time finalist. He also reached the finals of USA Wrestling’s preseason nationals. Considered the No. 148 overall 2020 prospect. Projects at 133/141.
Cael Happel, Lisbon (Iowa)
A three-time 1A state champion and Junior freestyle All-American. Happel began his senior season with 163 career victories, and could become the second four-timer in his own home (older brother Carter, now at Iowa, won four from 2013-16). MatScout ranks Happel as the No. 73 overall 2020 prospect. Projects at 133.
Wade Mitchell, Woodbury Central (Iowa)
Another 1A standout that’s headed to Cedar Falls. Mitchell is a three-time 1A state medalist, two-time finalist and a 2019 state champion. Through his first three seasons, he posted a 133-24 career record. He projects at 157.
Nevan Snodgrass, Fairmont (Ohio)
A tremendous get for Northern Iowa. Snodgrass is a three-time Ohio state medalist with an impressive national resume. He’s twice taken third at the Walsh Ironman and is also a Junior All-American in both freestyle and greco. Considered the No. 50 overall 2020 recruit by MatScout. Projects at 174.
Jakob Whitinger, Nashua-Plainfield (Iowa)
Another late addition to the Panthers’ 2020 class. Whitinger is a two-time 1A state medalist, placing fourth during both his sophomore and junior years. Projects at 125.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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