When most people think of homecoming weekend they think of football and football recruits, but what many don’t consider is the impact this game has on other athletic programs as well. This past weekend Iowa hosted a plethora of wrestlers, who were all taking official college visits, and all of them went to the game. Obviously, it wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but a hard-fought win goes a long way in the eyes of a recruit.
Not even 24 hours after the game the Hawkeyes landed their first 2021 verbal commit from Wyatt Henson out of Missouri.
Excited to be a Hawkeye! Let’s gooooooo!! pic.twitter.com/VnFsgUdwOo— dash (@wyatthenson9) October 20, 2019
Henson is ranked #7 at 132lbs and the #22 overall recruit for the class of 2021, according to Flowrestling. With the “class of 2021” glaring in our eyes comes the realization that he’s only entering into his junior year of high school.
So, what has he accomplished to garner such a high ranking with one-half of his prep career complete? Well, for starters, he reached the podium and finished fifth as a freshman in Pennsylvania before moving to Missouri where he became a state champion as a sophomore. He’s quickly compiled an overall record of 72-16 in high school and that was before he went on an absolute tear this past summer. He took third place at Fargo at 126lbs and more recently, third place at 132lbs at Super 32, which many consider to be the toughest pre-season high school tournament out there. But to me, perhaps his most impressive feat to date, was his sixth place run at the Junior World Team Trials in April. This is a monster tournament for many aspiring junior world team members and along the way he stuck NCAA All-American Rayvon Foley from Michigan State. Freaking Awesome.
He’s currently projecting at 141-149lbs at the next level and his presence will help fill the void after Pat Lugo (All-American), Jeren Glosser, Carter Happel, Aaron Meyer, Justin Stickley and Vince Turk all graduate.
The Henson name may sound familiar to some and that’s because his father is Sammie Henson. The elder Henson was a 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist, a world champ in 1998, and a bronze medalist in 2006, all at 54kg. He was also a 3x All-American and 2x NCAA Champ for Clemson (his first AA honor was with Missouri).
FWIW- Sammie and Terry Brands both wrestled on the same 2000 Olympic Team. Brands wrestled at 58kg and finished with bronze. Tom Brands was also severing as an assistant coach for some of those national teams while Sammie was competing. Perhaps his relationship with Tom and Terry have been brewing for quite some time. Either way, with the addition of Wyatt you can bet Sammie will be spending more team around this team. Another Olympic medalist and World Champ having ties to this program will certainly be a massive boost to morale and momentum.
Oh. Yes. This is the same Sammie Henson that beat Chad Zaputil in the 93’ NCAA Finals and cemented his career as a 3x finalist with three 2nd place finishes. So here we are. We’ve come full circle and Wyatt aims to become a champ for the fanbase his father broke the heart’s of so many years ago. This is going to be a great ride folks, get ready!
As I mentioned earlier, it was a big weekend for Hawkeye wrestling with several big-name, high profile guys coming to OFFICIALLY see what the program is all about.
From the class of 2020:
#96 Bretli Reyna
#110 Gabe Christenson
From the class of 2021:
#5 Paddy Gallagher
#10 Ryan Sokol, #12 Drake Ayala
#19 Caleb Rathjen
#22 Wyatt Henson
***high-lighted names have already committed to Iowa***
For anyone who tuned into Who’s Number One a couple weeks ago you would’ve seen future Hawk, Patrick Kennedy, beat down the #1 overall recruit for 2021, Alex Facundo, 5-2. The low score doesn’t reflect how dominate Kennedy truly was.
Paddy Gallagher and Ryan Sokol, who also competed at Who’s Number One, but unfortunately lost their respective bouts, were also in attendance this past weekend. Sokol has already been on quite the journey with Iowa, but here’s to hoping he ends up in Black and Gold. Gallagher is already a much-coveted recruit and would be a huge get for us. And by huge, I mean massively huge.
We should keep our eyes and ears open for everyone on this list, but two that I think could come off the board within the next few weeks are Drake Ayala and Caleb Rathjen. Both are home grown Iowa products that could immediately make a big impact on the Hawkeye program. From what I’m gathering they each have a couple visits remaining. For a great write-up on Rathjen please head over to IAwrestle.com.
Here’s to hoping, wishing, and praying to the wrestling deities that this breaks the recruiting floodgates open for Iowa. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this program right now and sometimes it only takes one name to set things in motion. I think “Henson” is that name.
When these young men stepped into Kinnick Stadium on Saturday there is only one thing they were dreaming of. They were dreaming this was them… Spencer freakin’ Lee.