It’s hardly a stretch to say Jake Marlin has been groomed almost all his life to wrestle at Iowa.
The name on his birth certificate — Jacob Gable Marlin — pointed him in the same direction as the black-and-gold posters on his walls and the former Hawkeye in his corner.
And after a brief moment of recruiting deliberation when he wondered if his wrestling career might take him someplace else for college, the three-time state champion from Creston/Orient-Macksburg turned back to the program he seemed destined to join all along.
Marlin committed to Iowa after a decision-changing official visit last weekend when he watched the Hawkeyes train inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex in Iowa City.
“They’re a little bit crazy,” he said with a laugh. “I thought there was probably a better place for me. But after my visit, I realized this is the place.”
Marlin selected the Hawkeyes over Nebraska, Iowa State, Wisconsin and South Dakota State.
“Iowa just seems like it’s on a whole different level than anywhere else,” he said. “Being there with all of those guys and being there with the coaches, it kind of clicked. It’s just the right fit.”
Marlin compiled a 148-5 record while claiming titles at 130, 135 and 138 pounds during his first three varsity seasons. He scored bonus points in 10 of his 12 state meet victories, including the past eight.
“I’m not OK with winning by one or two points,” Marlin said. “I want to pin ’em or tech ’em. Even last year in the finals, I was so mad when I got a major.”
Marlin is aiming to join a club of 21 preps who have won four Iowa state high school titles.
“(Iowa is) going to get a pretty incredible competitor,” Creston/Orient-Macksburg coach Darrell Frain said. “He’s one of those kids who, if you challenge him, he’ll step up and surprise about anybody.”
Marlin, ranked by InterMat as the nation’s No. 79 prospect in the 2013 class, is the second wrestler to commit to the Hawkeyes this month. He joins two-time Minnesota state champion Broc Berge, a projected 197-pounder who is ranked the No. 25 overall prospect by InterMat.
Marlin projects as a 141-pounder in college. He already has a sense of the college wrestling feel from three years training with assistant coach Mario Galanakis, a two-time NCAA qualifier for the Hawkeyes.
“He’s helped me progress on top, and that’s odd because I’m never on top trying to turn him,” Marlin said. “He’s always turning me. I’m not sure how that worked out, but it did.”