Head Wrestling coach John Stutzman released the final list of eleven recruits for this upcoming season and just like last season's class, which ranked in the top 25 in the nation, this class has garnered national attention as well, and for good reason. For the second season in a row Stutzman and his staff has brought in solid depth from top to bottom including a recruit that was ranked in the top 10 nationally in his weight class.
Stutzman also hit several wrestling talent hotbeds with this years class including: downstate New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Indiana. The attention to the Pennsylvania area is nice to see because wrestling in Pennsylvania is like high school football in Texas; many of the top recruits in the country come out of Pennsylvania so developing pipelines from there will only benefit the program. To help visualize where all the recruits are coming from take a look at the Google Map below:
Below is a tentative depth chart going into this season - I advanced everyone from last season's roster one year and left guys that were freshmen that I know were redshirted under the "R-Freshman" column. Obviously it won't be exact because guys shift weights and maybe someone left the program but we can see the depth that Stutzman is building and its very impressive.
Like I said above, the chart may not be 100% accurate but it gives a solid visual as to the depth that's been built since Stutzman has arrived and this class really solidifies that. Now I'll do a recruit by recruit breakdown to give an idea of what each guy has done in their prep careers before coming to UB.
Addrian Ferrerie - Bronx, NY - Mt. St. Michael Academy - Projected Weight: 157/165
Addrian comes to UB after competing at the Mt. St. Michael Academy in the Bronx, where he had a career record of 106-31 and was a two-time state New York State qualifier and one-time medalist, taking home 4th this past season. He was also a double place-winner in both the NYS Freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments, earning All-State accolades for both. Addrian is also relatively new to the sport, but, from watching a few of his matches (including the one below) you can see that he's extremely athletic with good upper-body strength from the Greco-Roman training he's done. He may not start right away but he has plenty of upside and he'll be interesting to watch develop.
Tommy Forte - Mishawaka, IN - Mishawaka HS - Projected Weight: 149/157
Forte is the marquee name in this year's recruiting class - he's a two time Indiana state champion and a four time Indiana state place finisher. Forte was also ranked in the top-100 overall seniors in the nation by several recruiting services and he was also in the top-10 in his weight class. He placed 4th at the Super 32 tournament which regularly showcases the best prep talent in the nation. He's a polished wrestler with no major flaws in anything that he does - the video below is from a few years ago, but you can see Forte's ability on full display at the national stage. Expect him to come in right away and start and be very competitive.
Keegan Harris - Pittsburgh, PA - Pine Richland HS - Projected Weight: 184
Harris comes to UB from Pittsburgh where he started for 3 years and placed eighth in the WPIAL tournament and placed third in the Eastern Area Invitational. Harris is a relative newcomer to the sport, having started wrestling in 9th grade, so his upside is very high, especially after he displayed success wrestling in the hardest state in the nation. From his compilation of matches he shows a sound fundamental base that will serve as a foundation for his development in college. Harris will most likely redshirt and develop some more before competing for a starting position.
Ralph Maio - Great Kills, NY - Monsignor Farrell - Projected Weight: 149
Maio is one of three Bulls recruits to come from the New York City area, wrestling for the top CHSAA school. As a senior he captured a Catholic State Championship and led Monsignor Farrell to the CHSAA State Championship. He's a high energy wrestler with a non-stop motor that Coach Stutzman absolutely loves. Again, he will likely develop for a season or two before stepping onto the mat to compete for a full-time spot given the guys already on the roster.
Justin Patrick - Ligonier, PA - Ligonier Valley HS - Projected Weight: 125
Another wrestler from the heart of Pennsylvania, Patrick is one of the other marquee names in Stutzman's recruiting class. Patrick was a four-time PIAA state qualifier and a two-time PIAA place finisher; he was also a two-time Pennsylvania Prep State Champion and a two-time Prep National medalist - no easy feat. He was also a six-time All-American at the prep level and had over 160 career wins. He's a seasoned and hardened wrestler that's strong, fast, and technically sound. Look for him to compete for time this season at 125.
Matthew Rose - Hasbrouck Heights, NJ - Hasbrouck Heights HS - Projected Weight: 133
Rose comes to UB from New Jersey, one of the tougher wrestling states in the nation, where he was a two-time New Jersey state qualifier. He's a tough guy with a lot of experience on the national circuit, I wouldn't expect him to start this year with Sean Peacock still at 133, but after some development he could compete for starting time.
Nate Rose - Bronx, NY - Eagle Academy - Projected Weight: 197
Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, Rose racked up 130 wins at the Eagle Academy (the school's all-time leader), and became the PSAL's first two-time state champion when he won back-to-back championships in his junior and senior seasons. He was also a Freestyle All-American and competed in the NY/NJ challenege that showcases the best prep wrestlers from each state and takes place in Times Square. Even though he is relatively new to wrestling, Rose is incredibly athletic and shows solid fundamentals on the mat. He's strong, and lightning-quick, and at his weight can make for a deadly combination. He wasn't a marquee recruit due to his relative inexperience, but expect him to compete for starting time right away.
Austin Shaw - New Alexandria, PA - Greensburg-Salem - Projected Weight: 141
Shaw is the third and final recruit to come to UB from Pennsylvania; a four year starter at Greensburg-Salem and three-time WPIAL tournament qualifier. He is a member of the century club at Greensburg-Salem, and competed in several sports in high school. He's a prospect that with some development at the collegiate level, can be an impact wrestler for the Bulls because of his aggressive style and experience wrestling against tough competition.
Lucas Silvis - Holley, NY - Holley HS - Projected Weight: 197
Recognize that last name? Well, this is the brother of current UB Bull Mike Silvis. Lucas finished his prep career with 112 wins and was a two-time league All-Star. For now, he will be quality depth and competition inside the wrestling room and down the line he'll compete for starting time.
Nolan Terrance - Akwesasne, NY - Massena Central HS - Projected Weight: 285
Terrance is another recruit that comes to UB with plenty of postseason experience and success. He was a two-time NYS qualifier, and won the championship his senior year. He also recorded over 100 wins in his prep career and set the Massena record for pins in a season. I watched his state championship match, and his double-overtime win was one of the most impressive displays of stamina and will that I've seen, not to mention his exceptional skills on the mat. If it's a sign of things to come he'll be competing for starting time right away.
Thomas Wightman - Warwick, NY - Warwick Valley HS - Projected Weight: 157
Last but certainly not least is Wightman, a former place finisher at the NYS tournament who comes to UB with NCAA pedigree as his older brother was an NCAA qualifier for Boston University. Wightman is a strong and aggressive wrestler and will provide solid competition in the wrestling room, and he'll even compete for time early on in his career.
So, overall I'd say it's another job well done by Stutzman and co., who built a solid core of talented recruits to add to last year's top-ranked recruiting class, and filled out the depth chart well with enough men at each weight to provide good competition during practice and give the best opportunity for the top guys to go out and shine.
The team is still young, but this nucleus that Coach Stutzman has added will push the team into contention for more wins each season an will start to produce MAC champions and NCAA qualifiers sooner rather than later.