A quick glance at Iowa’s wrestling roster and it becomes apparent where the Hawkeyes need help in the future.
Iowa addressed one of its biggest long-term needs in a big way.
The Hawkeyes secured a commitment from Minnesota state heavyweight champion Sam Stoll, beating rival Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota State to land one of the nation’s most coveted big guys.
Stoll said he grew up a Gopher fan and he’s well aware of their track record with heavyweights — Minnesota has collected four of the last eight NCAA heavyweight titles — but Iowa coaches Tom and Terry Brands trumped the home state school when the Kasson-Montorville senior laid out the pros and cons of each school.
“I felt Iowa was the best place to help me be successful with my wrestling career,” Stoll said. “I really like the Brands brothers’ philosophy and I love the atmosphere down there. It’s great. … I know I’m really going to get challenged in that room and I know they’re the ones who will be able to take me to the next level and help me reach my goals.”
Stoll surged up the national rankings last year when he compiled a 49-0 record, registering one major decision and pinning every other wrestler he faced. Throw in his success at the national and international levels — Stoll was a FILA Junior World bronze medalist this year in Greco-Roman and he swept the freestyle and Greco-Roman titles at Cadet Nationals in 2011 — and he became a consensus top 20 recuit.
InterMat ranks Stoll the No. 11 prospect in the Class of 2014 and Flowrestling has him ranked No. 13.
Although Iowa fortified its heavyweight depth in recent months by adding a pair of Pennsylvania state champions —Rutgers transfer Terrance Jean-Jacques and Aaron Bradley, who is on a Mormon mission in Brazil and has yet to enroll in school — the Hawkeyes were still targeting big guys.
The timing of Stoll’s arrival could create an almost seamless transition for the Hawkeyes with All-American heavyweight Bobby Telford entering his final season next year.
“It works out great that way, but it’s not something I look at,” Stoll said. “I wanted to go somewhere I feel I’ll like a lot and I feel will help me be the most successful. It works out great there and that’s something you’ve always got to look at — who’s there. But my coaches tell me you’ve got to beat them all to win an NCAA championship. But Telford’s going to help me out a lot and it’s going to be good to work with him.”
Stoll is believed to be the third wrestler to commit to Iowa’s 2014 recruiting class, joining fellow Minnesota state champion Seth Gross from Apple Valley and New York state champ Burke Paddock.