With the recruiting period back open after a 15-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coaches and student-athletes are back in communication. With that, verbal pledges are being made left and right (or so it seems).
Earlier this week, Cody Chittum, a Class of 2023 standout, gave a verbal commitment to the University of Minnesota.
Well, just one day later, a fellow Class of 2023 stud is off the market as well. Christian Carroll is electing to join first-year head coach Mike Poeta and the Fighting Illini in Champaign.
— Wrestling 🧠 (@MatScoutWillie) June 4, 2021
Injuries and eligibility issues stemming from a high school transfer have prevented Carroll from accruing some of the traditional postseason accolades one might expect for such a physically gifted and highly regarded prospect like Carroll. That being said, even despite limited mat time, the talent is evident.
Carroll, who TOM has rated as the No.2 in the nation at 195 pounds, has captured a Super 32 title, earning a big-time win over Gavin Nelson, a Cadet freestyle World Team member in the process. TOM has Nelson slotted at No.2 at 215 in its latest national rankings.
The Carroll vs. Nelson match can be seen here.
While the New Prairie, Indiana, native is young, with much of his prep career in front of him, it is no surprise to see Carroll garner Big Ten interest even as a sophomore and soon-to-be rising junior.
Carroll projects as a heavyweight at the next level and could easily be the succession plan at 285 for Poeta after Luke Luffman departs from Champaign.
Less than two full months into his new job, Mike Poeta is quickly showing that his recruiting chops are in excellent shape as he has already earned verbal’s from two top recruits in the Class of 2023, with Kannon Webster (Washington, IL) being the other.
The Poeta-era in Champaign is off to a fine start.