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Intermat features Illinois Top Ten 2010 wrestlers

The Illinois 2010 class has plenty left to prove before the next level begins. At first glance the 2010 class is not an imposing group, especially considering the classes that preceded them.

Since the Class of 2005, Illinois wrestling seniors have stepped up their game each year and produced some of the top wrestling classes in the country. The Class of 2010 features its own share of All-Americans and state champions that want to make their mark as well.

Led by Lee Munster and Nick Dardanes, the top seniors in Illinois boast six current or former high school All-Americans in the top 10. In addition, the 2010 class returns three state champions and three runner-ups. While the Class of 2010 may not be as deep as past years, there are plenty of talented wrestlers who have unfinished business to take care of before heading off to college.

1. Lee Munster

School: Fox Lake Grant
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 189
Projected College Weight Class: 184

Scouting Report: Munster entered the Illinois high school scene in 2006-07 under a lot of hype and fanfare. The quiet and unassuming Munster has not failed to deliver as is evident by his 120-6 career record. He is a returning state champ and the only multiple-time champ ... also with a title at 119 pounds as a freshman. Munster completed his junior season with a sparkling 47-0 record and the title at 171.


A solid freestyler, Munster is a two-time Illinois freestyle state champion and three-time All American. The Illinois champion finished second at the Asics Junior Nationals at 171 pounds this summer. Munster has been part of the Illinois State Freestyle Team competing at the junior level since his freshman year and was able to contribute to the state's unprecedented historic run of three consecutive National Dual team titles.

Munster set the all-time Grant High School record for number of pins in a single season his junior year. He was the high school team Co-MVP and was selected as the Outstanding Wrestler in every tournament he competed in 2009.

A seven-time National Judo champion and a six-time International Judo champion as rated by the United Stated Judo Association, Munster has shown future Olympic potential.

Munster is ranked as the No. 8 recruit in the country by InterMat. Academically, he has been recognized as an All-Academic athlete each season. Combine solid academics with rock solid wrestling skills and Munster has college champion potential.

Munster verbally committed to Northwestern University during his junior season and will sign during the November early signing period.

2. Nick Dardanes

School: Oak Park-River Forest
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 140
Projected College Weight Class: 133


Scouting Report: Dardanes and his twin brother, Chris, transferred to Oak Park-River Forest following their sophomore season. Dardanes parlayed that into an individual championship for himself while leading the Huskies to Illinois (AAA) big school team title along with his brother.

The 2009 returning state champion and Asics Junior Nationals finalist, Dardanes is ranked No. 20 nationally by InterMat. A very physical wrestler Dardanes, a two-time All-American, combines strength, speed and technique into a very dominating style of wrestling.

Dardanes is considering Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri.

3. Keith Surber

School: O'Fallon
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 135
Projected College Weight Class: 133


Keith SurberScouting Report: Surber, a two-time All American is a hard-working, quick learner, who always looks for a way to get better. A proven winner on the folkstyle national level, the NHSCA National finalist in 2008 is ranked as the No. 98 recruit in the country by InterMat. In addition, he is one of two returning three-time All State wrestlers, the only one in AAA.

Surber, who has 140 career wins, is always looking to wrestle the best competition in tough matches and brackets. His 32 on the ACT indicates that he takes his academics seriously.

Surber is looking at Arizona State, Nebraska, Northwestern, U.S. Naval Academy, and Oklahoma.

4. Nick Proctor

School: Neuqua Valley
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 160
Projected College Weight Class: 165


Nick ProctorScouting Report: Proctor, who is ranked as the No. 67 recruit in the country by InterMat, uses an aggressive offensive style, mixing single and double leg attacks. Proctor would prefer a tech fall over a pin.

Proctor is a two-time All-State middleweight who has also garnered All American honors three times, including a runner-up finish in 2009 (160). He was a FILA Cadet finalist in 2009 as well.

A diversified wrestler, Proctor is a B student with a 25 ACT and NCAA Division I skills.

Proctor is considering Michigan State, Old Dominion, Missouri, Nebraska, and Illinois.

5. Chris Dardanes

School: Oak Park-River Forest
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 135
Projected College Weight Class: 133

Scouting Report: Transferring with his brother from Fenwick, Dardanes helped lead the Huskies to their first AAA state title in 2009. Dardanes loves the pressure of the big matches.


Chris DardanesA three-time All-State wrestler, Dardanes has done well on the national mat, reaching the FILA Cadet finals in 2008 and becoming an Asics All American in 2009.

He has the heavy hands of a brawler that all coaches seek. His style of wrestling is reminiscent of the 'Iowa Style.' Dardanes is very focused on wrestling and is a tireless worker, constantly improving with a tremendous upside.

Dardanes is considering Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois.

6. Jake Miller

School: Murphysboro
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 145
Projected College Weight Class: 141/149

Scouting Report: Miller won the state title in Class A as a freshman at 103 pounds. The lone Class A (small school) representative in the top 10, Miller is as solid as his big school peers. He is very good on his feet and his single leg attack is virtually unstoppable.

Along with Surber, Miller returns seeking his fourth All State medal while entering his senior year with a sparkling 118-4 record.

Miller also carries a solid 3.94 grade point average, is ranked 15th in his class, and has a NCAA Division I qualifying ACT score as well.

Miller is looking at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Cornell, and Wyoming.

7. Matt Dwyer

School: Hononegah
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 189
Projected College Weight Class: 184/197


Scouting Report: Dwyer, a two-time All-State wrestler with a sparkling 139-19record, is currently in transition as he competes for that state title one more time in 2010. A counter wrestler, Dwyer is becoming more of an attack wrestler with some grind and pounding mixed in.

His two older brothers, Stephen and David, are successful collegiate wrestlers. Stephen is a Division I All-American at Nebraska, while David was an NJCAA All-American at Lincoln College who has transferred to McKendree.

Dwyer's drive and determination are what will make him a collegiate wrestler.

Dwyer is deciding between Nebraska and Northern Illinois.

8. Zach Smith

School: Boyland
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 215
Projected College Weight Class: 197


Zach SmithScouting Report: Using an aggressive style, Smith (106-12) likes to wrestle on his feet and get as many takedowns as possible. A constant well set up attack has become extremely efficient for Smith en-route to the 2009 state title.

He is seldom out of position and this sound position enables him to neutralize a wide variety of opponents and set his attacks from a variety of situations.

He is considering Illinois State, Western Illinois, Eastern Illinois, and North Dakota State for football, but is open to wrestling in college.

9. Sterling Hecox

School: Harlem
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 215
Projected College Weight Class: 197


Sterling HecoxScouting Report: Much like Munster, Hecox entered high school with lots of predictions of greatness. His 117-17 record indicates that he is one of the best as does his qualifying for state three times. In 2009, Hecox reached the podium for his first All State accolades.

Hecox uses a Greco-based upper body style. Often his unorthodox but very technical attack poses many problems for the competition.

The 26 ACT and 4.27/4.0 grade point average assure that there will be no classroom issues with Hecox. With plans to be a pharmacist, Hecox has the grades.

Hecox is looking at Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, Princeton, Brown, and Harvard.

10. Colton Rasche

School: Montini Catholic
09-10 Projected High School Weight Class: 135
Projected College Weight Class: 133

Scouting Report: The state runner-up at 130, Rasche features a lot of offensive takedowns and an attack style of wrestling. Typical of his Montini teammates' all-out style, he would prefer a tech fall to a pin.

Well versed in freestyle as well, Rasche followed up his 2009 FILA Cadet All-American status by becoming an Asics USA All-American in 2009.


Colton RascheRasch, a three-time All-Stater, is a hard worker in the practice room, willing to help anyone while pushing himself to the limit to be a champion.

Rasche is considering the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy having secured the necessary Congressional recommendation.


By Andre’ Morgan
Illinois Matmen Staff
Land of Lincoln continues to produce top collegiate talent with 2009 class
Since the class of 2005, Illinois wrestling seniors have stepped up their game each year and produced some of the top wrestling classes in the country. There is no reason to believe that the class of 2009 won’t continue that tradition.
Led by the big three of Illinois wrestling: Tony Ramos, Jon Morrison and Jimmy Chase, the top seniors in Illinois feature seven current or former high school All-Americans in the top ten. Well versed in the International styles of wrestling, Illinois is in the midst of a serious three peat in folkstyle / greco national titles which were paced by eight of the top ten wrestlers in the state.
Last year Illinois was the first team to win the National Championship at the Junior Duals in both Greco and freestyle. In 2008 Team Illinois achieved the double-double again, winning back-to-back National Championships in both styles. Illinois became the first team to win 3 consecutive titles since it became a national event, and both teams were in the finals for the last 3 years. Another FIRST may be the most impressive – the Junior freestyle team became the first team EVER to win the national title and win the team national sportsmanship award in the same year.
In conclusion if a wrestler has Illinois attached to his name, he is a force to be dealt with.
Top Recruit
Tony Ramos
Glenbard North H.S., Carol Stream, IL
Projected college weight: 125/133
Background: Tony is a 3x All State, 2x state champion for the Panthers who teamed with his brother Vince (Indiana) to share individual championships last Feburary at the state finals. A 3x Fila National Champion, a 2007 Ironman Champion and a member of The Clash All tournament team indicates Tony’s fondness for the top podium step.
What makes him #1: Ranked #12 in the nation by Intermat. One of the tightest races for the top wrestler in Illinois in recent years, head to head victories over number two Jon Morrison plus a second state title vaulted Tony to the top spot in Illinois.
What makes him a top recruit: The most physical light weight in the state and it is not unusual to see an exhausted, bloodied and bandaged Tony following his matches.Tony is known for his grind it out physical style which will be perfect for his future coach Tom Brands and the defending NCAA national champions Iowa. Many college coaches have stamped Ramos as a potential NCAA champion.
Where he is committed: Iowa – also considered Oklahoma State and Indiana
Jon Morrison
Carl Sandburg H.S., Orland Park, IL
Projected college weight: 125
Background: One of the best ever in Illinois, Jon’s toughness and ability to win close low scoring matches is legendary in Illinois. The defending 119 state champ is a 2x All State wrestler who is also prolific in the International style. Jon returns for his senior campaign as an Asic’s All American where he placed second in the freestyle national championship this summer.
What makes him a top recruit: Ranked #11 in the nation by Intermat. The most nationally experienced and decorated wrestler in the 2009 senior class Jon has a strong work ethic. That alone will endure Jon to his future coach and legendary wrestler John Smith of Oklahoma State. Always a winner from the top public school program in Illinois, Jon finds a way to get to the championship matches.
Where he is committed: Oklahoma State – also considered Wisconsin and Northwestern
Jimmy Chase
Glenbard North, Carol Stream, IL
Projected college weight: 133
Background: Captured his first state title (130) with only 9 wins after returning in January 2008 from ACL reconstructive surgey. Jimmy’s magical season continued when he almost claimed a spot on the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman team and is considered a solid future Olympian. Jimmy is a member of the Junior Greco World team, the Fila Greco (55kg) National Champion and a 2x h.s. Asic All American.
What makes him a top recruit: Ranked #25 in the nation by Intermat. Battle tested on the highest of national stages Jimmy returns for his senior year as a h.s. All American. Chase is a favorite to capture his second state title and a national Greco championship.
Where he is committed to: Binghamton – also considered USOEC
Ellis Coleman
Oak Park – River Forest, Oak Park, IL
Projected college weight; 66 kg. / 133 / 141
Background: Ellis is a Cadet Greco National Champion (2007) and national finalist in 2008 Asic All American. Along with Lillishawn, his graduated brother, Ellis has led a resurgence of the Oak Park wrestling program with two All State finishes.
What makes him a top recruit: Ellis has an in your face non stop aggressive style of wrestler. Naturally talented and a very explosive wrestler with pinning ability Ellis’ future may well be on the International mat as a future Greco – Roman Olympian. Where he’s looking: United States Olympic Education Center
Carl Foreside Jr.
Montini Catholic H.S., Lombard, IL
Projected college weight: 184 / 197
Background: A two year starter for the defending AA state champ Broncos, Carl marched right into the state finals and gave the state champ Jordan Blanton all he could handle before bowing out 8-6. Carl’s signature duck under to a body lock throw known as the “Shake and Bake” in the Bronco’s room is an instant crowd pleaser and a fear for anyone he wrestles.
What makes him a top recruit: A three sport star (football, volleyball) at Montini, Carl has tremendous quickness and strength. Solid in the classroom and a lifetime wrestler Foreside’s upside is as large as his 6’ 4” frame.
Where he’s looking: Lindenwood, Oklahoma State, Old Dominion, Newberry
Bobby Barnheisel
Fenwick Catholic H.S., Oak Park, IL
Projected college weight: 149 / 157

Background: With a career 125-13 record, Barnheisel is an All State wrestler and the son of an All State wrestler Bill (1977-OP-RF). He has also captured two Chicago Catholic League championships and was a Dvorak placer in two of Illinois most prestigious regular season tournaments.
What makes him a top recruit: Ranked nationally by Intermat. A three time h.s. All American including a national freestyle finalist appearance stamps Barnheisel as a must have on any college coaches shopping list. Showcasing a sparkling 3.7 G.P.A. means there are no classroom worries with Barnheisel.
Where he’s looking: Open
Clayton Kendall
De LaSalle Catholic, H.S, Chicago, IL
Projected college weight: 174
Background: A 2008 All State and Asic All American, Clayton burst on the Illinois wrestling scene with a dominating performance at the Chicago Catholic League championships and followed that up a month later with his first trip to the All State podium.
What makes him a top recruit: A physical specimen whose fluid style and aggressive offensive attack mode makes Clayton difficult to defend and or score on. A solid personal character and hard worker in the practice room will endure Clayton to any college coach.
Where he is looking: Wyoming and Northern Illinois
Reggie Reed
Bloom Trail H.S., Chicago Heights, IL
Projected college weight: 197
Background: Reggie first walked into a wrestling room as a freshman looking to stay busy after football season and blossomed into a h.s. All American by his junior year . Placed 6th in 08 to make his first All State team, Junior National Greco All American with a 4th in Fargo in 2007, Physical style with lots of throws and upper attacks makes Reggie one of the most dangerous wrestlers in the state. Also All Conference football player who is sitting out his senior season to concentrate on wrestling.
What makes him a top recruit: Reed has very powerful hips and is physically strong enough to compete in a college wrestling room as a freshman. In addition Reed is a top caliber young man, very respectful of his peers and a natural team leader.
Where he is looking: Still open but considering Purdue and Michigan
Matt Boggess
Prospect H.S., Mt. Prospect, IL
Projected college weight: 141 / 149
Background: All State in 2008 with second place finish after suffering season ending injury in the first minute of the state 135 pound finals match. Matt will be the top returning contender at 140. In your face, physical style but can pin you with 23 pins in 2008 plus 10 tech falls.
What makes him a top recruit: Matt is a great team leader and one of the top wrestling room workers in the state. He picks up new moves and technique very quickly and will adapt to the college style with ease. His relentless training and solid academics make him a coach's favorite. A consistent state title threat, last years injury will serve as a driving force for his senior campaign.
Where he is looking: Illinois, Northwestern
Mark Marianovich
Marian Catholic H.S. Chicago Heights, IL
Projected college weight: 133 / 141
Background: 3x State Qualifier, 2x sectional champ, 2x All State, 1x NHSCA All American
What makes him a top recruit: Mark has a very physical style, he brings it to you yet is well rounded in top, bottom and neutral positions. His work ethic is what sets him apart from the competition. Injuries have dogged Mark’s career but when healthy there is no better wrestler in Illinois.
Where he is looking: Open
Other Seniors to watch: Mario Gonzales, Justin Farmer, Matt Walters, Isaiah Gonzalez, Seth Milks, Ryan Robinson, Chris Narel, Mark Stenberg, Elias Larson, Jake Wojcik, A.J. Smith, Adam Sheley, Chase O'Deen, John Van Duyne, Alan Tate

Top Recruits 2008
Top Recruit -
Conrad Polz

Carl Sandburg H.S., Orland Park
Projected college weight: 149
Background : Polz the 2x Illinois state champ has ascended to the top of the Illinios wrestling rankings through hard work, his signature headlock and grind it out style. Polz always seems like the buck stops here type of wrestler for the Eagles middle weights. A fan favorite Polz always picks up key wins and was a leader on three Sandburg state championship teams.
What makes him #1: Polz will complete the Polz dynasty at Sandburg as the number one wrestler in Illinois. Sandburg's two- time (135-140) state champ will follow his brother Clinton to the University of Illinois. A bulldog on the mat Conrad has a relentless style that keeps him on the attack. Blessed with the best coaching staff in Illinois and coming off three straight dual team championships at Sandburg, Polz's physical style is hard to defend. An All American in 2007 as a Fargo national runner up (152) in freestyle, Conrad is poised to conclude his senior year in style with his third state title and a possible Senior Nationals title.
What makes him a top recruit: Conrad who is coached by his father Mike – the NHSCA 2006 National Coach of the Year, is a true pleasure in the room and a solid wrestler in competition. Polz has been around winning wrestling his entire life and any coach will want to add that to his team. Tested in big tournaments like The Clash and Fargo, Polz has passed all national test. Polz has a sparkling 134-3 career record and is ranked #53 nationally by InterMat for all seniors
Where he is committed: Illinois

Garrett Goebel
Montini Catholic H.S., Lombard
Projected college weight: Not applicable
Background: The best of the big men Goebel is an equal terror on the mat or the football gridiron. A 3x All State grappler, Goebel posted a solid 5-0 victory in a loaded 285 weight class to ascend to the top of the step in Illinois folkstyle. The list is small of the heavy's that can compete with Goebel both locally and nationally. A solid undefeated showing at the Clash and the Ironman championship put Goebel on the national map to stay
What makes him a top recruit: If the football team at Ohio State believes in sharing the wrestling program would heap hugh dividines. Goebel has a 144-14 career record and is ranked #22 nationally by InterMat for all seniors
Where he's looking: Ohio State University (committed for football)

Jordan Blanton
Richmond - Burton., Richmond
Projected college weight: 184
Background: The top winningest wrestler in Illinois Blanton boast only one career loss, that was in the state final last season to Mikey Benefiel. The glossy record, the two class A state titles or the raising of Benefiel's hand before the ref could, reveal a lot about Blanton's personality and skill level. A misdirection hi-crotch usually jump starts the scoring machine called Jordan Blanton. A beautiful blend of size, strength, technique and coachabilty move Blaton into the rare air of Illinois all time greats.
What makes him a top recruit: . Coach Brands (Iowa) will be very, very happy with the work ethic that Blanton will bring to the Hawkeyes room of champions. Blanton career record is 111-1 and is ranked 13th nationally by InterMat for all seniors.
Where he's looking: Iowa (committed)

Bernard (B.J.) Futrell
Mount Carmel H.S., Chicago
Projected college weight; 125
Background: The most nationally decorated wrestler in the senior class Futrell finally grew into the 103 weight class and captured the title. The son of 1977 - 119 pound Illinois state champ (Walter), Futrell beat Fargo National Champ Jon Morrison 4-3 in the 103 lb. championship. A 3x SQ, 2x All Stater, 3x each Greco and Freestyle state champ is a complete wrestler. Futrell is a 2x Fargo finalist and a regular member of Team Illinois, the state dual team that won the national championship in '07. Futrell was considered an "automatic" win to jump start the dual team lineup.
What makes him a top recruit: Battle tested on all of the big national stages, the 3x All American has flawless technique, can score from any position and has excellent pin skills. Add his National Honor Society academic talent in the classroom and you have the perfect college 125 pounder. Futrell is ranked nationally #115 by InterMat for all seniors was selected to the prestigious Asic All American team for 2007 .
Where he's looking: Open

Josh Kratovil
Lincoln – Way Central H.S. New Lenox
Projected college weight: 125/133
Background: Josh has made the most of his h.s. career appearing in the state final match every year and capturing the 112 lb title in 2006. Throughout his career Josh has defeated some of the best in state history and his leg riding attack can not be looked past. A master of the funk there are no sure wins when wrestling Kratovil. A 3x All State wrestler a return to the state finals for this winner is not improbable based on Kratovil's history.
What makes him a top recruit: A hard worker Kratovil is never out of a match and his wide open style of offense could translate well to the collegiate mats..
Where he's looking: North Carolina - Greensboro, Coe, Illinois,

Jeff Bybee
Illinois Valley Central H.S., Chillicothe
Projected college weight: 141
Background: A two time All State wrestler with two championships (112, 119) in Class A, Bybee overcame a wood shop class accident that severed a finger to return to the mat only to suffer a season ending break of his tibula in folkstyle, The 2006 Fargo Greco runner up and h.s. All American is a very skilled wrestler and also a 2x National Kick Boxing champion. Bybee is considered the best senior wrestler in Class A, Illinois small school division and is capable of winning a state title in Class AA.
What makes him a top recruit: A love of the sport and a tenacity that can't be taught are Bybee's trademark. All you need to know about Bybee is when told by doctors he could return to the mat for his junior season sooner if he amputated his damaged finger, Bybee responded by giving the go ahead to remove the finger.
Where he's looking: Northern Michigan Olympic Education Center, Iowa State, Illinois, Indiana, Stanford, Harvard, Dubuque, Lincoln
and Wartburg

Lillashawn Coleman
Oak Park – River Forest, H.S, Oak Park
Projected college weight: 125 / 133
Background: Coleman burst on the Illinois h.s. wrestling scene in 2005 as a freshman state qualifier helping lead Coach Mike Powell Oak Park team back into the state dual team series. In 2006 Coleman became a freestyle All American beating 4 of the other All Americans and putting himself on the national map. Last year in his third trip to the state tourney Coleman advanced to the championship match losing a close 5-3 decision.
What makes him a top recruit: An outstanding scrambler. his long arms and legs will be a plus for the college coach interested in Coleman. A very athletic wrestler Coleman has deceptive speed, balance and strength. He has made steady progress every year in all facets of wrestling. There is no reason to think this trend can't continue in college.
Where he is looking; Lot's of contact from various DIII schools while awaiting final ACT scores before considering DI and DII schools.

Vince Ramos
Glenbard North H.S., Carol Stream
Projected college weight: 152
Background: A veteran of the national wrestling scene Vince can be a bit of a brawler but watch out for his signature throw by. His solid body and ability to keep and win close matches is unparelled. A 3x All State wrestler makes him a leading contender for a state championship as a senior.
What makes him a top recruit: Ramos has the perfect college middle weight body and his tenacity will fit the college wrestling room.
Where he is looking: Open

Chris Spangler
Neuqua Valley H.S., Naperville
Projected college weight: 165
Background: A 3x State Qualifier and 2x All State grappler including a 2006 103 lb. state title stamps Spangler as a contender again. The 2007 season has Spangler venturing into the land of the big men as he has had the largest growth of the elite Illinois wrestlers, tipping the scale at 171. Last season Spangler placed in the 119 lb. Weight class.
What makes him a top recruit: A lot of national experience plus winning at 103 lbs. will offer Spangler the ability to go "small" with his quickness or go "big" with his size. An excellent student most colleges will need to sell the academic side of their program. Chris' brother Brian (141), wrestles for the University of Penn.
Where he is looking: Open

Pat Walker
Glenbard East H.S. Glenbard
Projected college weight: 197
Background: Often considered one of the best big men in the state Walker often shines in the bright lights of the state tournament. A two-time All State wrestler Walker seems poised to take the 215 state title this year.
What makes him a top recruit: Big men with skills are hard to find. Throw in a solid work ethic and a winners attitude and recruiters can stop at the Walkers door.
Where he is looking : Open



2006-07...
Illinois' Top Recruits
By Andre' Morgan
[I]IllinoisMatmen.com[/I[/URL]]
Top Recruit
Albert White
St. Rita, Chicago

Projected college weight: 149
Background : White, who captured the Asics Junior National 145-pound Championship this past summer, enters his final season with a chance to become one of the greatest Illinois wrestlers in history. White, often compared to native Illinois great Joe Williams (Mt. Carmel / Iowa), boasts a 148-3 career mark, but has not lost since midway through his sophomore season. A two-time All American, White could very well break the state mark for wins (187) set by Jimmy Kennedy of Grant (Illinois) this past season with a final state title. He also has never lost a conference title match and could become just the ninth Chicago Catholic League Champion in 70 years to win four titles. Entering the season as the top ranked wrestler in the country at 145 pounds, White is set to conclude his career as the ninth four-time state champion in Illinois since 1937.
What makes him the top recruit: White is the perfect blend of strength, endurance, power, speed and agility that every college coach looks for. His double leg takedown is flawless and famous throughout the state. He is just as tough if you tie up with him. A mat rat, White loves to train, study and prepare for the next match. That quality alone will endure him to the nation’s elite programs. Probably the most focused wrestler in the state, a college coach with scholarship in hand can’t go wrong with this can’t miss blue chip prospect.
Where he’s looking: Oklahoma State, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State
The rest of the Top 10
Mike Benefiel
Montini Catholic, Lombard

Projected college weight: 165/174
Background: A three time state (class AA – once, class A twice) champion Benefiel has great size and strength. A two time Asics freestyle All American, Benefiel is headed towards joining the states super elite wrestlers with a fourth title. Winning the states large class AA title – undefeated at 43-0 - last year, added credibility to Benefiel’s resume, now only history awaits to see if he (like White) can become the ninth four – time champion. Benefiel posses exceptional size for a 160 pounder and strength to match anyone in the state. At times Benefiel can become a scoring machine or he can rumble if need be. Battle tested on the nation’s biggest stages during his career, Benefiel is very mat smart.
What makes him a top recruit: Ranked the number three prospect in the nation by Intermat, Benefiel has been training for the college level for a long time and this season is the payoff. College coaches loooking for a proven winner with great size and technique should make the trip to Lombard to see Benefiel in action.
Where he’s looking: Open
Jerome Ward
St. Rita, Chicago

Projected college weight: 184
Background: Ward, the two time Asics All American is a physical specimin. Extremly strong on the mat, Ward also plays fullback for the state power Mustangs. Still developing as a technical wrestler, Ward’s raw talent continues to improve at a speed faster than any other wrestler in Illinois. A third place finish in freestyle this past summer at 189 pounds has mirrored Ward’s fast rise to national elite wrestler. Ward has developed into a great shooter who can finish with a pin if need be. Ward’s physical, brawling style is a fan favorite and his matches are always must see matches. Clinching his first state title with a 47 and 1 record, the future seems very bright for the states top 189 pounder.
What makes him a top recruit: Ward’s ability to physically dominate a match makes it evident that he is a collegiate wrestler waiting on a coach to make him an offer. Ranked as the 19th college prospect by Intermat, college coaches can find a future college All American waiting at 79th & Western in Chicago.
Verbal Commitment: Iowa
John Starzyk
Providence Catholic, New Lenox

Projected college weight: 133
Background: A three time All Stater with two championships on his wall, Starzyk pulled the unique feat of winning state titles at two different schools last season. After winning his first title for St. Rita as a 112 pound sophomore, Starzyk transfered to Chicago Catholic League rival Providence and won an undefeated (49-0) state title last season. Only a surprising 3-2 loss to class A state champ Tyler Clark at the NHSCA Junior Nationals kept Starzyk from being the national champ at 119 pounds last season. Starzyk enters his final season chasing history as he attempts (along with White) to become the ninth four time Chicago Catholic League champ and the 18th three time state champion. Focusing only on folkstyle, Starzyk a counter wrestler who is a pinning machine has recorded 98 falls using the cradle as his main weapon. The state record of 117 by Eric Siebert (LaSalle – Peru) is in his sights. He also is in a race with White to eclispe the state career win record of 187 and will enter the season with a 149-7 mark.
What makes him a top recruit: The college coach that is looking for a serious folkstyler that seems to be able to elevate himself to another level in the big matches needs to look no further than Providence’s John Starzyk. A solid weight management wrestler, Starzyk who is ranked 43rd nationally by Intermat does what it takes to win.
Where he’s looking: Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska -Lincoln
Matt Cusick
Carl Sandburg, Orland Park

Projected college weight: 141/149
Background: Tapped for greatness as a freshman, Cusick emerged last season to the podium top step as the Illinois 140 pound state champion. Cusick combines toughness, technique and smarts to wear opponents down. Doubling as a freestyle All American Cusick is very versitile in all areas of wrestling. A tough wrestler Cusick is equally adept at mat wrestling or can become a takedown artist when need be. A two-time All Stater Cusick missed the early part of the season but posted a 30-1 record while crusing to his first title.
What makes him a top recruit: College coaches would be smart to place this work horse on their shopping list. Cusick’s willingness to do whatever it takes to win a match will translate into a good college wrestler.
Where he’s looking: Open
Joe Fagiano
St. Patrick, Chicago

Projected college weight: 197/HWT.
Background: Fagiano went from virtual unknown to state champion in one season to capture the state title at 215. Defeating former Asics All American Christian Brantley 3-2 in the finals and Indiana recruit Nate Everhart in the quarterfials Fagiano proved to be the real deal. A brawler with a physical style, Fagiano turned out to be very resourceful in first season of varsity level competition mixing speed with power. Fagiano captured his state title by posting a 45-2 record.
What makes him a top recruit: Fagiano has an excellent body for college wrestling, seems to have the knack for winning and every college coach can use a winner. A developing wrestler, Fagiano who has the ability to dominate a match, appears to get better with each match.
Where he’s looking: Open
Ryan Prater
Plainfield Central, Plainfield

Projected college weight: 141
Background: After being injured much of the regular season Prater took advantage of three nationally ranked wrestlers (Jimmy Kennedy[Illinois], Mario Morgan [Nebraska-Omaha], Kyle Hutter [Old Dominion])being in the top of the 125 pound bracket and marched into the finals from the bottom bracket. A three time state qualifier and two time All Stater, Prater’s funky style gave Grant’s Kennedy fits before settling for second place with a 6-4 last second loss. Prater who is not afraid to mix it up with anyone, is improving all of the time and should enter the season as the favorite at 135 pounds. The states best scrambler, Prater uses a series of multiple shots and ties ups mixed with extreme quickness to keep opponents off balance.
What makes him a top recruit: A fearless wrestler, Prater who appears to be physically growing before your eyes can be a solid folkstyler at a D1 college. Prater whose style is funk mixed with a constant offensive attack should adjust to the collegiate level with ease.
Where he is looking; Missouri, Old Dominion, Central Michigan
Donny Cotton
East Peoria, Peoria

Projected college weight: 133
Background: Cotton was the surprise wrestler at the Ilinois state tournament defeating state ranked wrestlers, Cartice Lloyd (Bremen) by fall and shutting out St. Rita’s Adam Canty 3-0 to take third. Only a loss to four time All Stater/ All American Dalton Bullard (Illinois) of Belevedere kept Cotton from being undefeated and a apperance in the state finals. Cotton’s performance has stamped him as the one to watch in the 130 weight class next season. A solid technician with pinning skills Cotton has the ability to dominate a weight class.
What makes him a top recruit: Cotton seems to have the knack of winning close matches and dominating matches he should dominate. In the right program and with potential to continue growing in both size and skill level, Cotton could become an NCAA beast.
Where he is looking: Open
Christian Brantley
Mount Carmel, Chicago

Projected college weight: 197
Background: Brantley, a former Asics double All American, came up short in the state finals, losing to Joe Fagiano (St. Patrick) 3-2.. Brantley whose deceptive speed usually catches opponents by surprise has the best takedown skills of the big men in Illinois. A student of the sport Brantley trains hard and features a balanced attack that mixes in freestyle, greco-roman and folkstyle. Tie-ups, hand fighting and quick shots are Brantley’s signature moves along with a slick knee pick.
What makes him a top recruit: A National Honor Society student, Brantley will provided his college coach with no worries in the classroom. A master at all three forms of wrestling and very technically skilled, college coaches will find the mild mannered Brantley a pleasure to coach.
Where he is looking: Iowa, Oklahoma State, North Carolina State, Nebraska-Omaha, Penn State
Clayton Rush
Aledo, Aledo

Projected college weight: 125
Background: The lone class A champion in the top ten, Rush is most comfortable on his feet. A takedown specialist Rush uses his speed and quickness to build leads. Rush marched to the 112 championship last year undefeated. A defensive captain, Rush spent the majority of the season recovering from a football knee injury for the state 2A runner-ups. A go-getter, with heavy hands and grinder style, Rush likes to control the match. Rush won the Northern Plains freestyle 112 title and the Illinois Greco Roman state championship in addition to being a member of Team Illinois’ National placing Greco team.
What makes him a top recruit: A lifetime college 125 pounder, Rush is exactly what is very hard for college coaches to find. Potential is the operative word when thinking of Rush. All college coaches seek it and Rush has tons of it. His best wrestling is ahead of him.
Where he is looking: Wartburg, Coe, Wisconsin-Lacrosse
The best of the rest: Jim Kernants (Reavis), D J Bruce (Naperville North), Scott Penny (Granite City), Jon Drendel (West Aurora), Cartice Lloyd (Bremen), Zack Taylor (Harlem), Wade Lowe (Alton), Bryan O’Connor (Glenbard North), Ethan Winel (Montini), Neil Lopez (Naperville North), Jeremy Ellingwood (Plainfield Central), Eric Pretto (Sandburg).

and 2005-06...

Illinois' Top Recruits
Top Recruit
Brandon Precin[/URL]
Carl Sandburg H.S., Orland Park
Projected college weight: 133/141
Background : The best wrestler on the best team in Illinois secured his first state championship last season in the always tough 125 weight class. Brandon, a three time All-Stater is a very solid wrestler who never strays far from his signature fireman’s carry. Precin clinched the Dual Team state title for Sandburg last spring with a win in the final match. Brandon is a 2x Cadet/Junior Freestyle All American.
What makes him a #1: A very quiet personality make Brandon easy to miss but his work ethic and consistency on the mat will make him a coaches dream to have. Brandon is probably the strongest wrestler pound for pound in Illinois and wrestles for the best coaching staff in Illinois.
Where he’s looking: Open
Jimmy Kennedy [/URL]
Grant H.S., Fox Lake
Projected college weight: 125
Background: The most decorated national wrestler in Illinois, Jimmy was a state champ in 2004. Last season in Illinois toughest weight class (119) that featured a who’s who of Illinois best wrestlers Kennedy placed third, defeating Kyle Hutter. A 3x All State wrestler, Kennedy finished second as a freshman to Iowa State’s Nick Fanthorpe. Jimmy has been a Cadet and Junior National All American the last three years including the 112 national championship in 2004.
What makes him a top recruit: Kennedy’s technique is as close to perfect as you can get and he never beats himself. Physically very strong, Jimmy is a solid wrestler who can only get better in one of the nation’s top wrestling programs. Every big time coach knows who he is so the competition will be stiff for his services.
Where he’s looking: Illinois (committed)
John Dergo[/URL]
Morris H.S., Morris
Projected college weight: 184
Background: The top multi sport athlete in Illinois, John is a 2x All State football running back/linebacker who bypassed many football offers to pursue wrestling. Dergo, the defending 171 state champ is a solid technician who’s on the mat wrestling is the best in Illinois. He did not do much summer wrestling because of football but make no mistake; this kid is a national level wrestler.
What makes him a top recruit: Dergo is a coach’s son who has been on the mat since he was four years old. A natural leader by example, John will be a force on the NCAA level and surprise many who are not aware of whom he is.
Where he’s looking: Illinois (committed)
Dalton Bullard
Belvedere H.S., Belvedere
Projected college weight; 125/133
Background: Dalton’s in your face, grinding style has been good enough to make him a three time placer. Getting past Nick Fanthorpe (Naperville North/Iowa State) and Brandon Precin, the last three years has proved to be Dalton’s road block to a state title. Look for more of the same as Bullard the state runner up and Precin, the state champ, project at the same senior year (130) weight. A physical wrestler Bullard has just started to explore the national scene and look for him to make a splash at Fargo next summer.
What makes him a top recruit: Being new to national tournaments makes Bullard a mid level D1 dark horse prospect. His love of the sport and gritty, pounding style makes Bullard a top school prospect for the coach willing to take the chance.
Where he’s looking: Open
Kyle Hutter[/URL]
Providence Catholic H.S. New Lenox
Projected college weight: 125/133
Background: The most improved wrestler in Illinois the last three years, there is no reason to believe the same trend will not continue. Kyle became an All-stater last year and a Fargo Junior All American in the summer. Hutter’s battles with Morgan and Kennedy have become legendary in Illinois. The wrestler with the best low single in Illinois has developed into a solid technician through hours of hard work in the practice room.
What makes him a top recruit: College coaches would be smart to place this work horse on their shopping list. His always improving style along with a refuse to lose attitude, will translate into a good college wrestler.
Where he’s looking: Open
Mario Morgan[/URL]
Mt. Carmel H.S., Chicago
Projected college weight: 133
Background: Mario, a three-time state quarterfinalist, has found more success on the national scene than at his own state tournament. The three time Illinois Freestyle / Greco State Champ was injured, while winning in the last seconds of the 2004 All American FS place match at the Junior Nationals. Mario’s funky mat style lead to many exciting matches for the Brute-Adidas 2005 Folkstyle All American and the 2004 AAU National Champion. Morgan has won three Chicago Catholic League championships and may become just the seventh four-time champ in 85 years with a title in ’06.
What makes him a top recruit: A tireless off season worker, Mario will continue to grow and develop in the UNO system at 133/141. Athletic and a solid technician, explosive on his feet with pinning ability Morgan always wrestles to the end and has won numerous matches in the closing seconds.
Where he’s looking: Nebraska-Omaha (committed)
Brian Martin
Montini H.S. Lombard
Projected college weight: 133/141
Background: Brian, a two time state champ in class A (small) has defeated many AA wrestlers as his school wrestles a national schedule including an appearance in the Clash. Tall and lanky, Martin’s style is athletic and constant. His run to back to back titles has been virtually unchallenged and he is definitely a big school wrestler.
What makes him a top recruit: Not being on the national scene may hurt Martin but college recruiters that take a chance will find a gem.
Where he is looking; Open
Steve Dwyer
Rockton H.S., Honenegah
Projected college weight: 174
Background: A pure power wrestler, Steve broke through on the state level last year with a runner up (152) finish to Illinois-bound Sean Reynolds, last years top Illinois wrestler, losing a close match 3-2. The states top ranked wrestler this year at 171, Dwyer should dominate with his physical style.
What makes him a top recruit: Steve seems to have the knack of winning close matches and dominating matches he should dominate. In the right program and with potential to continue growing Dwyer could become an NCAA beast.
Where he is looking: Open
Caitlyn Chase[/URL]
Glenbard North H.S., Carol Stream
Projected international weight: 106.5
Background: Caitlyn is not your everyday female wrestler. In 2004-05 she had a banner junior season, winning two matches at the Olympic trials, becoming the first female to qualify for the boys state, pulled off a surprise win to send the 2x defending state champs to defeat at the dual state, took the 103 state champ to his back for a near pin and won a second Junior National championship in the female divison at Junior Nationals in Fargo. Chase’s in your face style and no holes barred attitude translate to potential future Olympian.
What makes her a top recruit: There is just something about her that says this is a wrestler. Her work ethic and willingness to do whatever to succeed means she is a college wrestler and someone will take a chance.
Where she is looking: Olympic Training Center
Nate Everhart
Andrew H.S. Tinley Park
Projected college weight: 197
Background: Nate burst on to the Illinois state wrestling scene midway through last season, becoming top ranked, qualified for the state tournament and All State by placing fifth. Everhart’s big frame and natural strength means lots of potential for the future. Everhart, one of the top baseball players in the state has decided to purse wrestling in college.
What makes him a top recruit: Potential. Every D1 coach is looking for it and Everhart has loads of it. All Nate needs is plenty of coaching and mat time and his future is bright.
Where he is looking: Open
__________________

Last edited by MR TWISTER; 10-07-2009 at 09:25 AM.
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