While it was a huge recruiting weekend for the Ohio State football program, it was also a big weekend for Tom Ryan’s wrestling program.
The Wrestling Bucks had seven top 100 recruits in Columbus from Friday through Sunday in the form of Jesse Mendez, Nic Bouzakis, Nick Feldman, Rylan Rogers, Seth Shumate, Luke Geog, and Gavin Brown. That seven included four (Mendez, Bouzakis, Feldman, Rogers) of the top five overall recruits nationally. It was a massive weekend for the Buckeyes, and Ohio State commit Gavin Brown caught up with Buckeye Scoop to let everyone in on how it went.
“It was great,” he said. “It was like the first time everyone was together around them and actually being able to see them for a whole weekend. And it was a big official weekend. I want to say we had close to 15 guys. We had a couple transfers, a couple 2021 guys, and there was like seven class of 2022 guys.”
Brown has previously been around a lot of those who visited because he has competed against many of them for a while now. So when they were all able to come finally together this weekend, it was something they all enjoyed.
“It was really cool because me, Jesse, and actually Seth Shumate have all been on the same team since we’ve been coming out of elementary school into junior high, and we used to wrestle against Nic Bouzakis, so we are pretty familiar with Nic too,” Brown said. “It’s kind of cool seeing the same four guys have the same school in their top options.”
This was Brown’s first time visiting Columbus as a recruit, which also meant it was his first time putting on the scarlet singlet. And despite not being an Ohioan by birth it was still a surreal moment for the lifelong Buckeye fan-turned-future Ohio State wrestler.
“I’m from Kentucky, my dad is from Ohio, so my whole family besides my dad are Kentucky fans, but for some reason I’ve been an Ohio State fan since I’ve been little and always wanted to go to school there,” Brown said. “So it’s slowly turning from goals or dreams into something real now because I’m committed, I’m putting on the singlets, and it’s getting closer to the time of being on campus and living there. But putting on the Ohio State singlet was amazing.”
Another huge benefit of getting on campus this weekend was seeing Ohio State’s coaches in person once again.
“It was really cool,” Brown said. “One thing they make really important is not only growing as a wrestler but also as a person. And me personally I’d rather be a better person than a better wrestler. And it’s hard not to grow as a person when you’re with these guys and they are just super cool, easy to be around.”
Being a wrestler and natural-born competitor, it was hard for Brown to be around the other big time recruits this weekend and not think about how practicing with them would make him better. A practice group of Jesse Mendez, Nic Bouzakis, Paddy Gallagher, and himself especially got Brown excited for what the future could hold.
“My first thought is if you wrestle with those guys and don’t get better then there is something seriously going wrong,” he said. “I feel like when I’m wrestling with these guys every day, drilling with these guys every day I’m gonna jump levels. I’m gonna be competing for All-American, competing for a national title. So to have to have those guys to train with is probably the best group of four you can get.”
Regardless of how much Brown thinks about it and how much it gets written about, neither Nic Bouzakis or Jesse Mendez are committed yet. Nevertheless, Brown has some optimism for Buckeyes fans concerning those two and the future of Ohio State wrestling.
“Well, I know both of them very well and I think Ohio State fans have a lot to be excited about,” he said. “And I feel like they’ll have a lot of national titles to cheer on and be there for very soon.”
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