photo courtesy of Patrick Hagarty; Swxrightnow.com
This past week saw a pair of top-100 wrestlers from the Class of 2021 go off the market. The highest-ranked was #57 Drew Roberts (Coeur d’Alene, ID), who has given a verbal to the University of Minnesota. Drew rolled through the field in Idaho to claim the second state title of his career. The first came as a freshman while competing in Oregon. He also was third in Washington in his sophomore year. Drew is the son of two-time University of Oregon All-American Kevin Roberts, a long-time DI assistant coach. Within the last year, Drew has taken eighth in Junior freestyle in Fargo and seventh at the Walsh Ironman, while competing at 138 lbs. Roberts also captured a title at Idaho’s toughest in-season tournament, the Rollie Lane Invitational. Drew finished the year ranked third in TOM’s Rocky Mountain Rankings. The younger Roberts is another cog in what appears to be a monster recruiting Class of 2021 for Brandon Eggum’s Gophers. His team already has verbal’s from four top-100 recruits (#37 Vance Vombaur, #38 Bennett Tabor, Roberts, #82 Tagen Jamison) and also #124 Gabe Nagel. We’ll have to see how these weights shake out because Roberts and Vombaur both competed at 138 last season, while Jamison was at 132. If one or more of them could make 133 lbs, it would be beneficial as there is less, young-talent in Minneapolis at that weight, compared to 141.
The second top-100 recruit who committed this week was #95 Hudson Hightower (St. Edward, OH), who will be attending Princeton in the Fall of 2021. Hudson was fifth in Ohio’s DI classification as a sophomore while competing at 182 lbs. He did not get to compete at the state tournament this season since the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hightower had momentum going into states as he won the 170 lb weight class at the Perrysburg District. Earlier in the season, Hudson took fifth place in California’s Doc Buchanan Invitational. In 2019, Hudson was an NHSCA Sophomore National runner-up at 170 lbs, then went out to Fargo and won three matches in the Junior freestyle tournament before his elimination. Hightower looks like either a 174 or 184 lber at the next level. That should work out well for the Tigers, as they have some youth at those weights, but neither is locked down for the long term.
One of the top remaining wrestlers from the Class of 2020, Charlie Pickell (Mankato West, MN), also made his college intentions known. Charlie will be staying in-state to wrestle for DIII power Augsburg. Pickell was a three-time Minnesota state champion that was ranked #185 in the Class of 2020. He was also an NHSCA Junior National runner-up in 2019 at 132 lbs. In 2017, Charlie was a Cadet freestyle All-American in Fargo after taking eighth at the 126 lb weight class. Pickell finished the season ranked fifth in the Midwest Regional Rankings at 132.
For these three wrestlers and over 1200 more, check out TOM’s College Commitments page.