What many assumed would happen since the day he left Ohio State's wrestling program has finally happened: former cadet world freestyle champion Daniel Kerkvliet announced Thursday that he intends to wrestle at Penn State.
Kerkvliet announced his plans to transfer away from Ohio State just days before the start of the season, fresh after spending a week in Budapest at the U23 World Freestyle Championships with Penn State wrestlers Bo Nickal and Brady Berge, along with members of the Penn State coaching staff traveling to support their athletes on the U23 team.
It was apparently a fruitful recruiting trip for the Nittany Lions, as the trip appeared to precipitate the former No. 1 overall recruit's decision to leave Ohio State and ultimately wrestle for Cael Sanderson. Ohio State alumnus Kyle Snyder is currently training at the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club in search of another Olympic title, and will be one of several world-class heavyweight training partners in the room with Kerkvliet.
Given the timing of his departure from Ohio State and its effect on the program's plans to Olympic redshirt Chase Singletary, it seems unlikely that Ohio State would sign off on any transfer-release agreement, and that Kerkvliet would have to sit out a year before competing for the Nittany Lions. Because of his previous world-level freestyle success, he has the option of using an Olympic redshirt, so the timeline for his availability in the Penn State lineup is potentially very complicated.
Kerkvliet's recruitment was quite an adventure: at one point or another, the Minnesota high schooler was committed to three different wrestling programs. He originally committed to wrestle at home-state Minnesota in 2016, and at one point was slated to wrestle for Oklahoma State before reopening his commitment to the Cowboys last summer before enrolling at Ohio State.
He left the Buckeye program before wrestling a single collegiate match.
“I am looking for the best environment where I can make a long-term commitment, much longer than just the five years I will be wrestling in college,” Kerkvliet told FloWrestling after reopening his recruitment to Oklahoma State.
That comment appeared to foreshadow his eventual decision to enroll at Ohio State and take advantage of the opportunity to train alongside Snyder... and perhaps was foreshadowing the inevitability of his leaving to follow the three-time world champion to the Pennsylvania backwoods.