Brody Grothus wasn’t one of those lifelong Iowa wrestling fans who grew up hoping to one day wear a black-and-gold singlet and step onto the mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Davenport Assumption senior’s dreams were connected to diamonds. He pictured himself running down fly balls and hitting home runs somewhere in college.
It wasn’t until last year sometime that Grothus said he realized his future was brighter in wrestling. And it wasn’t until this month that the state champion realized there might be an opportunity to wrestle for the Hawkeyes.
“Most kids in the state grow up wanting to wrestle for Iowa, but I wasn’t that way,” Grothus said. “It wasn’t until coach (Tom) Brands called me that I really had any thoughts of wrestling for the University of Iowa.”
“I never really realized I had Division-I potential (in wrestling). But when coach Brands and the Iowa Hawkeyes are knocking on your door, that’s the place you want to be. That gets your motor going a little bit.”
Grothus, who projects as a 149- or 157-pounder in college, was set to sign a letter of intent Thursday with Iowa after his whirlwind recruiting process concluded Wednesday night during his flight home from a visit to Oklahoma.
“I had lots of time to think and it hit me that Iowa was the place I wanted to be,” Grothus said. “Iowa is going to make me a national champion the fastest. I know I could get it done wherever I would’ve went, but (with) the coaches and the guys in the room, Iowa is the best place to wrestle in the country bar none, hands down. The fan support is tremendous, and I’m a guy who likes to wrestle in front of fans.”
Grothus popped onto Iowa’s radar late. He compiled a 175-16 record — 10 of his losses came as a freshman — at Davenport Assumption, placing third as a sophomore and junior before going 52-0 as a senior. He claimed the Class 2A 145-pound title, winning a bracket that included Iowa State recruit Aaron Sorenson and Northern Iowa recruit Tanner Hiatt.
Grothus said Iowa’s interest increased after he placed third earlier this month at Senior Nationals. He said he picked the Hawkeyes over offers from Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa State and George Mason.
“UNI was an extremely close second,” he said. “I built a real strong relationship with coach (Doug) Schwab, and telling him no was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life. He’s got that program headed in the right direction, and I know they’re going to do great things, but I want to be part of what Iowa has now and jump right into it and win both individual and team titles.”
Grothus is thought to be the third wrestler to commit to Iowa’s 2011 recruiting class. He joins three-time South Dakota state champion Kris Klapprodt, who signed with the Hawkeyes in November, and George Mason transfer Cayle Byers, who committed to Iowa in February.
You won’t see Grothus listed among InterMat’s top recruits or in the Amateur Wrestling News national rankings. His commitment to baseball kept him from wrestling on the summer freestyle circuit.
“I’ve only wrestled four months out of the year,” said Grothus, who was a second-team all-district outfielder last year. “I’ve only wrestled one day of freestyle in my entire life and a lot of coaches take freestyle and Fargo into consideration, and I’ve never had a chance to be a part of that. Really, the only time I’ve been able to show what I’ve got — with the exception of my senior year — is at the state tournament.”