U Wrestling To Host Several Top Recruits This Week

This weekend could determine the future success of the Minnesota wrestling team. The Gophers hold their annual coaches clinic Friday and will have their most highly touted recruits coming in to check out campus all weekend.

Two years ago, Minnesota landed the top recruiting class in the nation, according to most wrestling publications. That group, which included 133-pounder Mack Reiter, 149-pounder C.P. Schlatter, 157-pounder Mitch Kuhlman, 184-pounder Roger Kish and 197-pounder Matt Koz, will make their debut this year for the maroon and gold. All five, now entering their redshirt freshman year, are expected to garner spots in the Gophers' 10-man starting lineup. Schlatter however, the mostly highly touted of the group, is out until January after suffering a knee injury wrestling in the Junior Pan Am Games last summer. He tore an ACL, but is back on the mat and expects to compete second semester.

But the focus for the Gophers this weekend is enticing a number of the nation's top wrestlers to come to Minnesota and continue their wrestling careers. Among the group visiting Minnesota are local standouts Jayson Ness of Bloomington Kennedy, Steve Larson of Apple Valley and Nate Matousek of Glencoe-Silver Lake. Among the outstate recruits coming are Dustin Schlatter of Massilon Perry High of Ohio, and Troy Nickerson of Chenango Folks, New York. Schlatter, the younger brother of C.P., is considered the top recruit in the nation, while Nickerson is considered a top-five recruit and the No. 1 wrestler in the nation at 119.

"Everyone thinks because Schlatter's brother is a Gopher that he is a lock to go to Minnesota," said Matt Krumrie, recruiting analyst for Thewrestlingmall.com. "While Minnesota appears to be the favorite, Dustin has indicated he still isn't sure what the future holds. This is a big weekend. There are some real talented kids coming in this weekend, some real studs. If they can sign the guys they want, this class could rival that of a few years ago."

Ness has narrowed his choices to Minnesota, Northwestern, Navy and North Dakota State. He has a 3.95 GPA and is looking to go to a school with a strong engineering program.

Larson is also being recruited by Minnesota in football and is having a hard time making a decision, said his father, Steve. Larson is ranked as the No. 2 senior heavyweight in the nation by Wrestling USA Magazine.

"He's really having a hard time making a choice," Steve Larson said. "He wants to play football, but he wants to wrestle. He likes both so much."

Apple Valley head coach Jim Jackson said Larson – who did not start wrestling until eighth grade - could either be a 197-pounder or heavyweight in college. Regardless, whichever sport he plays and whatever school he chooses, that team will get a quality individual.

"Steve Larson is a tremendous person, with great leadership skills and is an extremely hard worker," said Jackson.

Matousek is a two-time state champion who also has shown interest in Iowa, Penn State, Lehigh and Oklahoma State.

Schlatter has already visited Cal Poly and Nebraska and after Minnesota this weekend he will visit Michigan.

Nickerson, who has a 3.85 GPA, was also considering Cornell, Iowa, Michigan, Harvard and Northwestern.

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