I’m in Ryan Morningstar’s office on Monday, May 12th. Ryan I would like to take some time and discuss the incoming recruits for Iowa Wrestling. Let’s get right to the chase here. Fans like me are excited about the incoming recruiting class. The biggest name would probably be Sam Stoll, a Hwt. out of Minnesota. Tell us a little bit about Sam Stoll.
Morningstar: We are really excited about Sam Stoll. He set the national consecutive pin record this year (63). He’s a pinner. He’s a World Bronze Medalist at Junior FILA Greco. We are excited about him and getting him on campus.
Are you looking for him to probably redshirt next year and then replace Telford at Hwt.?
Morningstar: Yes, he more than likely redshirts next year, get a year of college wrestling under his belt and have four years of eligibility left.
We also signed a Hwt. that we think is pretty tough in Lance Evans of Solon, Iowa. That will be a good guy to push him and let them battle it out. Evans was a Junior National All-American last year, a local kid that is a student of the sport. He is a straight laced kid that we like a lot.
Evans wrestled 215 this season, is he a definite Hwt.?
Morningstar: He weighs 230 right now so he is a definite Hwt.
I have interviewed Seth Gross of Minnesota for my Blog. Very impressive young man out of the famous program of Apple Valley. I believe he won a Cadet National Title as a freshman and sophomore and a Junior National title as a junior. He is coming in with some very high credentials. What are your thoughts on Seth Gross?
Morningstar: The kid is a mat rat. He is very savvy and always analyzing his wrestling. He figures things out. He’s a good scrambler and I see really good things for him in the future.
Will he be at 141?
Morningstar: Yes, right now we see him at 141 and then growing into 149. I definitely see him at 141 as a freshman and sophomore and he has room to grow. We like him and think that he will be a strong middle weight for us.
You probably will not know until this fall or later, but will Gross wrestle or redshirt?
Morningstar: We will find out next fall. Right now we are planning on redshirting him. Say he wins the wrestle off and he wins the Midlands, then we have a conversation with his family and him. If he wants to wrestle then he will wrestle. I know that he wants to wrestle right away, which we love having a guy chomping at the bit like that. Sometimes it’s best to pull the reins back a little bit.
The next recruit that I want to talk about is Burke Paddock of New York. He definitely has a last name that stands out He had a brother just finish his career at Ohio State and I believe another brother that wrestled Division I. Could you tell us a little bit about Burke Paddock.
Morningstar: Paddock is another one of those guys that is gritty, grinds out his matches and gets it done. He’ll bang heads with you and he is our kind of guy. He’s ornery and mean and he has a lot of potential. Paddock has already had success on the National level. We want to get him into our system and take him to a whole new level.
I read a great article about Paddock this winter. It sounds like he is from a close big family . With his family and wrestling background, it just seems like he is from the Iowa Wrestling mold.
Morningstar: For sure. That’s one of the reasons why we went after him. He is very family orientated. When he came on his unofficial visit this summer, his parents wanted to make sure he was going to be taken care of. They were not going to just sent him off halfway across the country. He’s completely bought in and loves what we’re doing here. He wants to be apart of it and we’re excited to have him. As far as weight goes, probably 165/174.
Next wrestler is Tagen Lambotte from Kansas. From what little I have read about him, it sounds as though he has the high motor and endurance. It reminded me of Iowa wrestlers in the past where you recruit on his credentials but also on his potential and work ethic and conditioning.
Morningstar: Definitely. He is a four-time state champ out of Kansas. He’s a hard-nosed farm kid that wrestles like an Iowa style wrestler. He goes out and grinds matches out. He wrestles a high pace. He does a lot of good things and I think that we can help him and that he can help us.
What weight are we looking at for Lambotte?
Morningstar: Right now I see him at 149/157, more towards 157.
As far as recruits from Iowa, we have already talked about Lance Evans of Solon. You signed Mitch Bowman, a State Champ out of North Scott. He is a strong and physical looking wrestler. Are you looking at 184 for him?
Morningstar: Yes, 184 and I could see him getting up into 197 as well. He’s a big, strong physical kid that is long and rangy. He looked good at the Northern Plains this last weekend where he won both Freestyle and Greco by pin or tech all the way through with some pretty tough competition. We’re excited about him for sure.
Skyler St. John of Cedar Rapids Prairie, younger brother of Derek St. John, has also signed on to wrestle for the Hawks Could you tell us a little bit about Skyler.
Morningstar: When we watch Skyler wrestle, we see a lot of things that Derek does. We see a lot of similarities there. We need to get him to the point that Derek was at. It will not be an easy task but it can be done. He’s very tough and we see the similarities. Derek put in a lot of work to get where he is at and I think Skyler is very capable. He’s our kind of guy. Skyler will wrestle at 157/165.
Logan Ryan of Bettendorf, the younger brother of Connor Ryan already in the program. He looked impressive in winning a State title at a tough weight class.
Morningstar: He’s one of those guys that is scrappy. He gets after it by wrestling a high pace and he does not let his opponents rest and slow matches down. He throws caution to the wind and we love it. We like to keep those tough in-state Iowa wrestlers right here in Iowa City. Ryan is one of those tough in-state guys that we see a lot of potential in. He will probably be at 149 and possibly grow into 157.
Ross Lembeck of Linn-Mar is a late signing that was a good pickup for you.
Morningstar: Lembeck has had some really good moments in his high school career even though he did not win a state title. His dad (Chris) was kind of a late bloomer at UNI where he was an All-American. I see Ross as one of those long and rangy guys that is difficult to wrestle. This weekend at the Northern Plains he wrestled a highly nationally ranked guy from Minnesota that was a real battle. I saw some really good things and I see a lot of potential there. Lembeck will be at 157/165.
A real surprise for me was that you signed Eric Devos. He was a huge name early in his high school career when he started out at Apple Valley and then finished at Waverly-Shell Rock. Could you tell us where Devos has been and the status of his career.
Morningstar: He was at the University of Penn as a freshman. People kind of had him written off as a 125 pounder. Once he got to Penn he had to cut pretty hard to make 141 and then he got hurt. The next year he took a grey-shirt to basically heal from his injury. Now he is at 157/165 for size all day. He is muscular and looks good. He gets to campus in about two weeks and we’re looking forward to him training in the room.
How many years of eligibility will he have?
Morningstar: He will have a redshirt year and three years of eligibility left. We are looking at a redshirt this year depending on how he does in the wrestle offs, Midlands, and all of that.
Could you explain to me what a Grey Shirt is? I have heard of it for football recruiting for incoming freshman but I am unsure of exactly what it is.
Morningstar: A Grey Shirt is when you are not a full-time student. You are not on a roster so your clock for eligibility is not running.
It looks like you got a lot of middle weights and Heavyweights. Are you confident that you were able to meet your recruiting needs this year with this class?
Morningstar: Yes, definitely. We like our guys coming in and we are fired up about them. It’s a big class. We are still waiting on a couple of more guys that may commit that would be great additions to this class. The class we have right now we are excited about and ready to get them in the room.
I will keep you up to date on the remaining two possible signings.
Commentary: This is a deep and talented recruiting class. A great mix of wrestlers from throughout the country and the base of home-grown Iowa tough guys. A word of advise. Do not get caught up in the recruiting ratings that publications have. Iowa recruits a specific style and character. Sometimes the wrestler that Iowa wants is rated high and sometimes they are not. This class has the hard nosed wrestlers that will endure and succeed in the Iowa program. A #1 recruit in the country will do you no good if they can not make it through an Iowa practice.
I like what I hear about Stoll, Paddock, and Lambotte. However, my pick of the litter for this recruiting class is Seth Gross. I like his credentials, work ethic, and the fact that he wants to wrestle right away. That is a great mix.
It is now crucial that Iowa follows up with another stellar recruiting class for 2015. The legendary recruiting classes of 1987 (included Tom and Terry Brands) and 1988 left a big impression on me of the effectiveness and importance of back-to-back great recruiting classes. The 1991 and 1992 Iowa teams was the best wrestling team in the history of college wrestling and they were all from two recruiting classes. Enough said.
I will be evaluating and writing about potential Iowa recruits for the class of 2015 starting in June.