Link: Top-100 Senior Rankings
The beginning of July used to be a very big deal in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes. However, recent changes to NCAA bylaws have shifted the recruiting process to earlier in the high school career of prospects. Instead of July 1 of the rising senior year being a big milestone date, that date is now September 1 of the junior year (i.e. ten months earlier).
Even so, early July is still significant. The month of June was a big month in terms of major event opportunities for wrestlers to perform. At the beginning of the month was the UWW Cadet Nationals (aka, World Team Trials) for those that were age-eligible, while at mid-month there were both the AAU Scholastic Duals (aka, Disney Duals) along with the Junior Duals. In the month of July, the Cadet and Junior Nationals will take place in Fargo from July 12-19. Then, at the end of the month, there is a dead period in recruiting from July 29-Aug. 4 for the NWCA Convention.
For a third straight year, the top ranked wrestler in the senior class is a projected upper-weight (197 and/or 285); while it marks consecutive years that the top two prospects are both upper-weights. The 2018 class was led by Gable Steveson, while last year’s class featured Greg Kerkvliet and Cohlton Schultz. Leading the 2020 is A.J. Ferrari (Allen, Texas) and Braxton Amos (Parkersburg South, W.Va.).
Ferrari has been the top-ranked wrestler for this class since November 2017. In the 2018-19 year, Ferrari was repeat champion of the Walsh Jesuit Ironman and won the Beast of the East with a championship match victory over end of season No. 1 at 195 pounds Jacob Cardenas. A.J. started the year at Blair Academy before transferring to Bergen Catholic in early January, but was ineligible for post-season competition as per NJSIAA rules. In the spring, he returned to Allen, where he won state titles in his first two years of high school.
Amos has held varying top five positions in this class throughout his high school career. The 2018-19 season was a second consecutive undefeated season after missing his freshman year of high school due to injury. He won second consecutive titles at the Super 32 Challenge, Walsh Jesuit Ironman, and Powerade tournaments.
Ranked third in this class is Dustin Plott (Tuttle, Okla.), whose 2018-19 season saw him win a Super 32 Challenge title and dominate through a 46-1 season on the way to a second straight state title. The last two seasons of high school for Plott have seen him win 88 of 89 matches, while in the pre-season advancing to a pair of Super 32 Challenge finals. He is one of five Oklahoma State commits ranked in the top 50 of this class; joining him as Cowboys verbals are No. 12 Trevor Mastrogiovanni (Blair Academy, N.J.), No. 18 Luke Surber (Tuttle, Okla.), No. 37 Jakason Burks (Omaha Burke, Neb.) and No. 48 Konner Doucet (Comanche, Okla.).
The top five is rounded out by Jesse Vasquez (Excelsior Charter, Calif.), who is in position to become the ever rare four-time state champion in the Golden State; and Keegan O’Toole (Arrowhead, Wis.) who has won both the Super 32 Challenge and Junior National freestyle tournaments in the last 12 months. Joining them in the top ten are three-time National Prep champion Beau Bartlett (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.); four-star defensive line prospect Nash Hutmacher (Chamberlain, S.D.), who just committed to Nebraska for football; three-time state champions Patrick Kennedy (Kasson-Mantorville, Minn.) and Joshua Saunders (Christian Brothers College, Mo.); along with two-time state champion Sam Hillegas (North Hills, Pa.).
Dominating the top-100 recruits are the 19 wrestlers competing for high schools in the Keystone State, including six on the roster at Wyoming Seminary; all four top-100 recruits from WPIAL schools are rated within the top 35. Next in line are the nine top-100 seniors from Ohio and New Jersey, while it’s eight from Missouri, and then seven from California and Illinois respectively. Notable among high school programs are the three top-100 recruits for Blair Academy (N.J.) and Tuttle (Okla.), while there are pairs in the top-100 from Liberty (Mo.), Bergen Catholic (N.J.), Elyria (Ohio), Montini Catholic (Ill.), Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), and Mt. St. Joseph’s (Md.).