Heil photo courtesy of Cam Kramer; Moore/Brascetta photos courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com
Over the past two weeks, we unveiled our “Decade of Pennsylvania and New Jersey High School Recruiting.” We started with those two states because they consistently churn out DI competition that can only be matched by a few other states. One of those states is Ohio.
Though the state hasn’t been responsible for an NCAA champion since 2017 (Dean Heil), that ended a ten-year run where Ohio produced at least one national champ in nine of those years. The highwater mark was in 2008 when three Ohio natives (J Jaggers, Mike Pucillo, and Dustin Fox) got their hands raised on Saturday night in St. Louis. That span also saw four multiple-time national champions hail from Ohio (Jaggers, David Taylor, Logan Stieber, and Heil). Taylor and Stieber both came away with Hodge Trophy’s. Three times since 2008, we have seen a pair of wrestlers that call Ohio home, square off in the NCAA finals (Heil/George DiCamillo - 2017; Steve Luke/Mike Miller - 2009; Fox/JD Bergman). Needless to say, there’s talent for days within Ohio’s borders.
Before Tom Ryan arrived at Ohio State for the 2006-07 season, there was a stigma that some of Ohio’s best needed to leave the state to have individual and team success. From 1994-2006 six wrestlers from Ohio combined to win eight NCAA titles, but Tommy Rowlands was the only one that stayed home to wrestle for the Buckeyes. Alan Fried (Oklahoma State), Markus Mollica (Arizona State), Joe Heskett (Iowa State), Ryan Bertin (Michigan), and Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota), were the others. Though Jaggers started his career before Ryan came to Columbus and Lance Palmer was already signed, those two helped set the tone for the Ryan-era, which would lead to an increase in the retention of Ohio’s studs. Less than ten years later, the Buckeyes won their first and only NCAA team title, and were helped by Ohio natives Stieber and Nathan Tomasello (who both won titles) and Bo Jordan.
In addition to being able to recruit nationally, based on their name-brand recognition and success on the mat, Ohio State has been able to keep many of its best at home. Twice in the last decade has the top recruit in their entire class come from Ohio (Carson Kharchla - 2019 and Bo Jordan - 2013). In both instances, they signed with Ryan’s squad. He’s also been able to ink eight top-20 recruits from Ohio in the last decade.
Since Ohio State is the flagship university in Ohio, no other school, in-state, or out, can match their success or production with Ohio’s recruits. Only three other programs have been able to feature more than one All-American from Ohio in the last decade. They are Oklahoma State (Heil and Anthony Collica), Virginia Tech (Nick Brascetta and Ty Walz), and Wisconsin (Isaac Jordan and Ryan Taylor). Of the three, only Virginia Tech consistently continues to pipe in talent from Ohio. Surprisingly, Michigan, a state that’s had success with Ohio wrestlers in the past, only has one AA during the last decade.
Below you will find an alphabetical listing of all DI teams that have signed a top-150 recruit from Ohio in the last decade (2011-20). In parentheses, you’ll find their high school, followed by their ranking in their respective recruiting class. The rankings are courtesy of TOM from 2017-20 and before that, they are from my old D1CW site. Also, to credit schools that have developed talent once they made it to the wrestling room, I’ve also included non-ranked wrestlers that ended up either earning All-American honors or receiving a top-16 seed at the NCAA Tournament.
Those from Ohio that wrestled at an out-of-state school such as Blair Academy or Wyoming Seminary were not factored in. We also only factored in wrestlers that signed with a college initially. Transfers were not included/updated.
Hayden Lee (Marysville) #124 Class of 2014
Army West Point
Rocco Caywood (Perrysburg) #122 Class of 2014
Hunter Kosco (Northwest) #98 Class of 2017
Blake Saito (Perrysburg) #149 Class of 2020
Josh Heil (Brunswick) Class of 2016/NR
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