I thought things were bad when Jason Renteria departed our wrestling program. Immediately after that, as in a few ticks of the tick-tocker later, Ryan Sokol announced his plans to re-open his recruitment. He’s currently the #10 overall 2021 recruit and ranked #2 at 138lbs.
They tell me the hits keep on coming… I don’t know who “they” are, but I don’t like them.
Sokol originally verballed to Iowa last October before heading into his sophomore campaign at Simley Senior High School in Minnesota. He’d eventually run the gauntlet going 51-0. He bonused his way through the 138lbs weight class to claim his first state title. His good momentum would continue into the off season when he won the Cadet World Team Trials, going 7-0, to be the top dog at 65kg (143lbs).
Everything was all fine and dandy last week when coaches Ryan Morningstar and Terry Brands made an in-home visit.
The future was looking bright and full of smiles, then suddenly Sokol dropped this bombshell on The Des Moines Register, via text message.
”It was a hard choice. The Iowa community was great to me. I just wanted to open up my recruitment a bit and see what’s out there.”
Well, everything is out there for him. Assuming he keeps improving his recruitment will remain wide open and he’ll have all the top schools fighting over him.
This obviously thrusts 141 & 149lbs into the limelight over the next two recruiting cycles for TNT and Morningstar. Sokol would’ve been a good fit (still could be), especially with our current All-American 149lbs starter, Pat Lugo, due to graduate at season’s end. Meanwhile, we still have three years of eligibility left with Max Murin, who was an NCAA qualifier last year at 141lbs. It’s also feasible that Max eventually bulks up to fill in for Lugo once he departs, but that doesn’t give us much wiggle room if Sokol decides to go elsewhere.
Not all is doom and gloom though. With national signing day on the horizon (I believe Nov. 13) I still expect Jesse Ybarra and Colby Schreiver to hop on the Hawkeye pain train. Though neither of them is currently tracking for that 149lbs spot. Ybarra is #16 overall for next year’s class and #2 at 141, while Schriever could be around 157. Even with the addition of these two, the depth here is a bit thin.
I’m going to throw this out there, though I shouldn’t have to. We cannot as a fan base be upset with Mr. Sokol. Disappointed, meh. Upset? No. We can’t reasonably ask a (then) high school sophomore to give a 100% commitment to something that is still three years away. At that point in time it was probably the biggest and toughest decision of his life. Unfortunately for us, this is probably the smart move for him. He’s still over a year away from signing anything official, so there’s still plenty of time to reel him back in and show him how great Iowa City truly is.
Coincidentally, Sokol will wrestle PSU recruit, #1 Beau Bartlett, at the “Who’s #1” event inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on October 5. This will be a big opportunity for the Iowa fan base to rally behind him. Ybarra will also be competing along with the #1 at 165lbs/ #6 overall and fellow Hawkeye recruit, Patrick Kennedy. There are potentially some other wishlist targets attending that are all ranked #1 at their individual classes: Jesse Vasquez (157lbs), Paddy Gallagher (160lbs), and Alex Facundo (170lbs).
Additionally, Sokol is scheduled to make an official college visit to Iowa on Oct 19.
For more on Who’s #1 and ticket information please go here. FWIW, the Hawk football team is in Ann Arbor, Mich that weekend. If you’re in town and want to see the top high school prospects face off for the coveted #1 ranking, then please check it out! We could be seeing a lot of these guys speckled throughout the B1G over the next several years.