No. 1 Wrestling Recruit Travis Wittlake Flips from Penn State to Oklahoma State

Credit: FloWrestling
Written by Kyle Boone

Drama! Drama! Drama! Travis Wittlake, the No. 1 wrestler in the Class of 2018, announced this week that he’s had a last-minute change of heart and will be headed to Oklahoma State, not Penn State, where he was committed up until Tuesday.

“I went on a visit to Oklahoma State, and felt it was the place I should be,” said Wittlake. “Aside from all the recruiting, the phone calls, the coaches, I felt Oklahoma State provided my kind of atmosphere, and people. Don’t get me wrong — PSU is awesome, and I have great respect for the coaching staff there. I felt I could succeed under John Smith or Cael Sanderson, as they’re both great coaches, but it came down to a gut feeling and a place where I am going to be happy. ”

Wittlake is a multi-time Fargo champion from Oregon who took home the bronze medal at theĀ 2016 Cadet World Championships and was injured and did not compete at the event in 2017. He wrestles currently at 182-pounds, however projects Wittlake as either a 174-pounder or 184-pounder at the next level.

Wittlake was profiled by Sports Illustrated in 2012 (as a seventh grader) along with Jahlil Okafor and Jabrill Peppers among 14 rising athletes termed as “future game changers” within their respective sports for his dominance within wrestling.

Wittlake’s big flip late in the process marks an eventful week for John Smith, who also secured a commitment from Class of 2019 prospect Daniel Kerkvliet. Kerkvliet is a 2017 Cadet World Champion who flipped his commitment from Minnesota on Sunday. He is ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect by FloWrestling, and widely viewed as one of the top heavyweights in the country.

  • Alum in AZ


  • MajorPayneCounty

    I bet in college wrestling circles, everyone just hates us. And I freaking love it

    • CowPoke

      Oh OSU is very much hated in wrestling circles.

      • Doug

        Do you mean just the standard hate that comes with being a top program for so long? Or is there something more?

        I.e., do people hate OSU wrestling the way they hate Alabama football (“I’m sick of them winning all the time”), or the way they hate Duke basketball?

        If the latter, why?

        • CowPoke

          It’s more like how people hate Alabama or the Yankees. Blue bloods of the sport that they feel wins too much. John Smith is viewed as overly aggressive in his coaching and refs but really he’s no where as bad as several top school coaches (looking at you Penn State).

          Although recently Penn State has won several national titles in a row so they have taken some of the hate off is OSU a little.

        • Bob Schauer

          Doug, it has something to do with the 34 NCs the Cowboys have won over the last 90 years or so.

  • OSU-Bill


    • kspokesfan

      That was one too many.

      • Sean Flanagan

        No, PFB just increased his exclamation point limit to keep up with Twitter.

      • OSU-Bill

        Really, I considered including one more, but thought, nah, that would be ostentatious.

        • kspokesfan

          Damn lawyers…

  • Haely

    Wonder if it could be because of John smith being upset with current our 184 guys

  • Patrick, Orlando


  • Scott Fowler

    Welcome home Cowboy

  • GoPokes

    I’ve seen Penn State bloggers & posters literally proclaiming PSU to be a larger wrestling dynasty than OSU. It’s pretty funny.

    • Steve Mehl

      I have predicted that Cael Sanderson end’s up with more consecutive NCAA championships than Dan Gable with Iowa. The only hope for the dynasty to end is that Sanderson gets bored with winning and takes up painting as a profession for a new challenge. He is as good a coach as he was a wrestler. But I think his success will make our coaching staff rise to a new level in their recruiting methods.

    • Bob Schauer

      When any program begins to even approach OSU’s 34 NCs, get back to me on Penn State’s dynasty. Anyway, you can’t proclaim “dynasty” until a program excels over time with different coaches and different rules. OSU has been dominating college wrestling since the 1920s, with coaches like Ed Gallagher, Art Griffith, Myron Roderick, Tom Chesbro and John Smith. All those guys are in the HoF. Sanderson is great, but one coach, no matter how good, does not make a dynasty.

      • dooley23

        well, they are certainly a current Dynasty, but they don’t have near the history Oklahoma State wrestling.

        We have to take back that crown

        • Bob Schauer

          Agreed, OSU needs to win it all soon. I stick by my definition of a dynasty though…and PSU ain’t one yet….just a damn fine team with a terrific coach.

          • davids

            Maybe Penn St is not near the long tradition and championships that the Cowboys have garnered but winning 6 out of the last 7 is enough for me to hate Penn State. Cowboys have not won a NC in over 10 years!!! I’m excited about the current recruits. That being said, Penn St is a pretty strong 2018 pick! I’m ready for the Cowboys to win again!!!

          • Bob Schauer

            Amen to that, david…!!!

      • Steve Mehl

        What Dan Gable accomplished as coach at Iowa does not fit the definition of dynasty better than Duck Dynasty?

  • John Patrick