Most Ohio State fans know that the nation’s top 2022 football recruit was on campus this past weekend in the form of Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers, but football was not the only Buckeye program that had the country’s top prospect on campus. The Ohio State wrestling team and head coach Tom Ryan also hosted the country’s top prospect in one Jesse Mendez out Crown Point (IN) High School.
A projected 141-pound prospect at the college level, Mendez has won near everything he has entered in his high school career. Just this offseason he won junior world team trials and fell just short in the U23 world trials finals. In both events he competed against anywhere from recent college signees to third-year college wrestlers. As for his high school career, Mendez is a three-time state champion in a single division state which essentially means every wrestler in Indiana is in the same division regardless of school size or other factors. Basically, Mendez wins at every level and after a good visit to Columbus this past weekend he is considering wrestling at Ohio State for the next level.
“It was awesome,” Mendez told Buckeye Scoop. “It sucked having to wait because of COVID-19. The dead period getting pushed back, I think it was 15 months, so it was awesome to get out, talk to the coaches face to face, get to meet all the guys, really get a feel for the actual campus, and what I would be doing on a day-to-day basis if I were to go to Ohio State.”
This was Mendez’s first time talking to Ohio State’s coaching staff in person and after so much of the process being virtual he enjoyed learning more about the Buckeyes staff.
“I got a little feel for them over the phone,” he said. “We were having Zoom calls and talking over the phone probably about once or twice a week, texting consistently. I definitely got the idea of what kind of people they were and it was good to really get to know them on a more personal level.”
Aside from maybe wrestling on a few college campuses, this was Mendez’s first time getting to tour a campus with the coaches and see everything they have to offer, which was something else he really enjoyed about his trip to Columbus.
“It was cool because you start to see what the college lifestyle is like, what a DI athlete has to go through every day, and it was definitely cool,” he said.
Other than meeting the coaches and touring the campus this weekend, the visit also gave Mendez the opportunity to reunite with childhood friends and current Ohio State commits Gavin Brown and Seth Shumate. Mendez finds the idea of wrestling at the college level with his longtime friends interesting.
“I have wrestled on teams with Seth and Gavin since I was probably in fifth grade,” he said. “So it’s really cool to think we could go to the same college one day.”
Beyond just Ohio State, Mendez has a long list of college suitors and rightfully so as the country’s top prospect. That made his visit to Columbus all the more important as he moves into the next step of his recruiting process.
“Right now I’m trying to narrow down my list, get on my visits, and try to narrow it down to a couple,” he explained. “It’s been a lengthy process and its awesome being ranked number one but I have bigger goals. And I’ve got to pick the college that’s gonna help me reach those goals.”
From listening to Mendez it’s safe to assume that he believes Ohio State is at least one of the places where he thinks he can reach those goals. Nonetheless, he has a busy summer ahead of him with junior worlds and other events while also recovering from an injury. With that in mind, don’t be surprised if Ohio State is the only official visit he gets to take this summer.