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 the 2016 Cadet World Championships and was injured and did not compete at the event in 2017. He wrestles currently at 182-pounds, however FloWrestling.com 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.