Ohio State's wrestling program is not shy about its goals: win the Big Ten, and win a national title. The expectations are high, but the results in recent years have included a national title and three of the past four Big Ten championships.
Attracting and developing elite talent is what makes those results possible, and Ohio State's staff is doing that as well as any program in the country aside from the Penn State dynasty holding seven of the past eight NCAA titles. The Buckeyes finish the 2018 recruiting cycle with the No. 2 class in the land, behind Penn State, according to both FloWrestling and InterMat.
The Buckeyes welcome more Top 100 recruits than any other team in the country – eight by Flo's reckoning, nine according to InterMat – including the top 149-pound prospect in the country in Sammy Sasso. Ohio State has notched a Top 10 recruiting class in each of the past five classes according to Flo, including the No. 4 class last season and the No. 2 class in the country in 2014.
InterMat's Josh Lowe noted that all ten of Ohio State's wrestlers at the 2018 NCAA Tournament were ranked as Top 100 recruits coming out of high school, including No. 1 recruits Kyle Snyder and Bo Jordan, and Top 10 recruits Myles Martin, Micah Jordan, Luke Pletcher and Joey McKenna.
|Name||High School||Projected Weight||InterMat||FloWrestling|
|Sammy Sasso||Nazareth (Pennnsylvania.)||149||No. 9||No. 4|
|Gavin Hoffman||Mountoursville (Pennsylvania)||184/197||No. 11||No. 10|
|Rocky Jordan||St. Paris Graham||174/184||No. 30||No. 35|
|Quinn Kinner||Kingsway (New Jersey)||141||No. 36||No. 15|
|Jaden Mattox||Grove City Central Crossing||157/165||No. 38||No. 24|
|Malik Heinselman||Castle View (Colorado)||125||No. 48||No. 37|
|J.D. Stickley||St. Paris Graham||141/149||No. 73||N/R|
|Alex Felix||Gilroy (California)||141/149||No. 75||No. 98|
|Kevon Freeman||Lake Catholic||165/174||No. 79||No. 78|
|Kyle Gruber||Massillon Perry||125||N/R||N/R|
|Braeden Redlin||Allen (Texas)||165/174||N/R||N/R|
|Josh Ramirez||Dubuque Wahlert (Iowa)||174||N/R||N/R|
InterMat gives the Buckeyes a little more credit for some of its wrestlers in the bottom half of the Top 100 – keep in mind that these rankings are all wrestlers, not by weight class – while Flo is more bullish about Ohio State's top four signees.
"Ohio State has always recruited well, and the recent hiring of recruiting guru Anthony Ralph is keeping the skids greased," Flo's Willie Saylor noted in his analysis of the class. "Eight top 100 recruits is a national high for the class of 2018 and, boy, were they needed. It's not easy to lose a trio of four-time All-Americans (NATO, BoJo, Kyle) in the same year."
Cant wait to lead these young bucks. Lesssgoooooooo https://t.co/vmIiKpG1oi— Joseph McKenna (@Joey_McKenna) May 11, 2018
InterMat noted that the class covers every weight except 285, and possibly 133, weights that Ohio State feels it has covered for the next few seasons.
Penn State continues to pace the sport in recruiting top-shelf talent, landing seven of Flo's Top 100 prospects, including seven of the Top 35. The Nittany Lions sign their first No. 1 class since 2014, a class that included Jason Nolf, Bo Nickal, Nick Nevills and Shakur Rasheed.
The Big Ten as a whole recruited well this cycle, with Minnesota, Michigan and Nebraska each landing Top 10 classes according to both Flo and InterMat, with Flo also naming Iowa to its Top 10. Northwestern, Wisconsin and Purdue made Flo's Top 20, although the Boilermakers failed to make the grade for InterMat's analyst.
Recruiting never really stops, of course. While Tom Ryan and Anthony Ralph bask in the glow of another heralded bunch of shiny new Buckeyes coming to Columbus, they're hard at work on the trail, with three Top 50 recruits already in the fold for 2019.