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Wrestling: Five Thoughts on AJ Ferrari’s Commitment and OSU’s Future

What this means for Oklahoma State’s program moving forward.

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On Wednesday, AJ Ferrari — the No. 1 overall recruit in the country — committed to wrestle at Oklahoma State. This sent shock waves across the Oklahoma State fan base and has people lining up to buy season tickets a few years out from now. N

aturally there’s a lot to digest with this, so here goes my five thoughts on OSU landing the nation’s top recruit.

1. Give Tyler Caldwell a Raise

Caldwell came back to Stillwater in 2017 as the recruiting coordinator and has absolutely flipped the game for OSU in that department. The Cowboys recruiting class that year was ranked No. 5, which is certainly nothing to be upset about, but it consisted only of in-state kids and was anchored by Daton Fix and Kaden Gfeller who had been tied to the program since birth. The year prior the class was ranked 12th, which included a legacy in Wyatt Sheets, and most of the other big classes before that for OSU consisted mainly of in-state talent, notably Stillwater products like Kaid Brock, Joe Smith, Chandler Rogers, and Tristan Moran along with Boo Lewallen and others.

In these recent classes OSU is not only taking in most of the top talent across Oklahoma, they’re also picking up blue chips from all across the country. They’re also doing it in a balanced way that we just didn’t see with previous classes. For example, in back to back years OSU landed Chandler Rogers, Chance Marsteller and Joe Smith. They were all pretty much the same size and that naturally doesn’t work for wrestling. The back to back classes Tyler has helped put together are very spread out. There are a few spots where some pretty talented kids may have to either wrestle it out for a spot or wait for their time, but for the most part all this talent looks like it fits. It’s just incredible what he’s done.

2. Fans Need to Keep Showing Up

Last year OSU had some of the best attendance they’ve ever had. Notably the Iowa dual was packed out and one of the more impressive wrestling environments I’ve ever seen. The Ferrari family was in attendance and I’m sure took note of that. Also in attendance was Jakason Burks who announced his commitment on the spot that day. Dustin Plott, Konner Doucet, and a number of others were there as well. It makes a big difference and if fans want to see this recruiting renaissance they need to keep showing up to wrestling.

3. Everybody Seemed to Pitch In on This

It’s the coaches’ jobs to recruit right? So naturally they’re going to put their best foot forward in that department. Then you throw in the other recruits coming in. They want to win titles, so guys like Dustin Plott, Trevor Mastrogiovanni, and Konner Doucet all recruit each other. Then Daton Fix, he’s probably taking an Olympic redshirt this year, and wants some rings of his own. He’s been incredibly influential in changing the recruiting process at OSU and helping bring these guys in. A number of other young guys on the team probably deserve some credit too.

But one thing I saw with Ferrari that really impressed me was Nick Piccininni. He’s a fifth year senior with really no personal skin in the game with this recruiting class. He’ll never wrestle on a team with any of these guys. But if you follow them on social media, a number of them really paint a clear picture of their recruiting process. Nick was by Ferrari’s side almost the whole weekend on the trip. Showing him around, watching the game with him, everything. That kind of leadership as a senior shows a ton of character. There’s absolutely nothing that requires Nick Piccininni help recruit future classes. He could’ve done anything he wanted this weekend, but he spent time helping the future of the program and that’s just awesome to see!

4. Ferrari Has Been Hurt and So Has Dustin Plott

Ferrari had shoulder surgery last March. It sounds recovery has gone well and he’s expected to be back to 100 percent, but naturally that’s a concern. Dustin Plott also will miss Who’s No. 1 this weekend with an undisclosed injury. I don’t believe either are expected to be long term nagging issues, but it’s something to definitely keep in mind when it’s the top two guys in the recruiting class.

5. Let’s See What They Can Do

I’ve been saying it for bit, but coaching really hasn’t been the issue for OSU in trying to take down Penn State, it’s been recruiting. I really break it all down here, but recruiting classes just haven’t been the most highly rated of late at OSU while Penn State has seemingly had their pick. Now these classes are starting to look a bit more legit. What can the staff do with this group? How do these kids handle the pressure and hype? It will be interesting to see.

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