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Six Thoughts on Cowboy Wrestling’s Recent Recruiting Tear

Seth Duckworth lays out his thoughts after an eventful week in recruiting.



The Cowboys have hit the recruiting trail hard in recent weeks. They landed the No. 1 high school 152 pounder last week, Brevin Balmeceda, who ranks as the No. 12 recruit overall in the 2019 class. They picked up a commitment from the No. 47 overall prospect in the 2020 class Konner Doucet, and Wednesday they locked down two top 10 recruits in the 2020 class with No. 4 overall Dustin Plott and No. 9 Trevor Mastrogiovanni. OSU also landed a big batch of other solid recruits with Triston Wills, Colt Newton, Reece Witcraft, and Chance McLane in the last month. With that, I thought I’d give my thoughts on what that all means and where they go from here.

1. It’s Been a Good Few Weeks

I might as well call water “wet”, but this has been an unreal two weeks of recruiting for the Cowboys. These guys are all very good and their sizes all fit into the lineup well. Plott, Balmeceda and Mastrogiovanni have legitimate potential to be superstars and though Doucet ranks a little behind them on paper he’s very good in his own right.

2. I Expect There May Be More Commits for Both These Classes

Scholarship money in wrestling is pretty complex. I broke it down in a writeup last season. It’s really impossible to know how OSU has all of its funds allocated unless you’re on staff. But we can draw some conclusions.

A good recruit will get more money than a less highly rated one and vice versa. So when you look at an incoming recruiting class you have to look at what’s on the way out to speculate at what money is available. So naturally, as seniors graduate that money becomes available for that year’s recruits. Chandler Rogers, Jacobe Smith, Derek White, Jonce Blaylock, Mike Magaldo, and Preston Weigel all graduate this upcoming year. And OSU had a lot of transfers last season. Keegan Moore, Geo Martinez, Tristan Moran, and Gary Wayne Harding are all gone. Andrew Shomers and Dakota Geer are the only two that came in. And they came in before those guys left, so one would assume there is extra scholarship money from those transfers.

In theory, you would expect at minimum the money from Harding, Moran, Moore, and Martinez to have become available along with the money from the seniors. So on paper, you would project to gain scholarship money from ten wrestlers that could go to guys in this class. Some may have already been allocated to the 2020 guys, but I don’t believe that to be the case as OSU will have money from Brock, Smith, Piccininni, Lewallen, Marsden, and Shomers for that class. Some may have been walk-ons or guys that didn’t receive much money, but that’s ten wrestlers’ money on the way out to only five in so far for 2019. So it seems like there should be some money available for both of these classes to go after at least a few more guys.

3. Daton Fix, Kaden Gfeller, Travis Wittlake, Anthony Montalvo Still Have Four Years

With all the buzz about the future of the program, recruiting and these young bucks committing, one of the best wrestlers in the world still hasn’t used a second of his eligibility. He’ll spend as many as three years in the starting lineup with some of these guys. Daton’s very mature for his age and, on some levels, I think has already assumed some leadership roles in the room. He will likely be the bell cow of this group moving forward. You’ve also got Kaden Gfeller, Travis Wittlake, Anthony Montalvo, and a host of other pretty good wrestlers that still have all their eligibility left and will be teamed up with these guys going forward. That’s very promising.

4. The Future Does Look Bright

I touched on it recently but the Cowboys have two guys in the 2021 class they have some strong natural ties to that I think are near locks. Now Travis Mastrogiovanni, Trevor’s brother, enters the fray as a potential recruit and just by virtue of being “OSU” the Cowboys have a good shot at others. This is a year where not many guys graduate though, so money could impact the strength of the class.

5. OSU Still Dominates the Sooner State

OU has a bigger budget, they have a regional training center that is more centrally located and provides them access to more recruits, and they have made some upgrades to their facilities. OSU still landed commitments from four of the top in-state guys to one for OU. Most know OU wrestling is struggling on the mat right now. They have put some money into their program, but I think they’re still going to need massive changes to their product on the mat before they start winning many recruiting battles in-state. Though I do think their RTC angle played a role with them landing Josh Heindselman and could help them with others. At the end of the day if the Cowboys are after an in-state kid. They’re probably going to get him.

6. The New Look Big 12 Is Helping OSU

This doesn’t directly apply to the new commits, but I think it’s relevant to point out. Recruiting is a battle and sometimes it’s just about the other guy losing than it is you winning. OSU is going to miss on some big recruits but just doen’t want them to land at PSU, Ohio State, or Iowa. Some of the new affiliate Big 12 schools are helping with that.

Of the current class Northern Colorado has two top 10 guys, Penn State has zero. Iowa State and Northern Iowa even have more top 20 guys than PSU. Are these smaller programs going head-to-head with the traditional powers and winning recruiting battles? I have no idea if these schools even looked at these guys, but it’s safe to assume some probably did. So it’s a great thing for these schools to be developing as long as they aren’t winning direct recruiting battles over the Cowboys.

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