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Iowa Wrestling: Drake Ayala commits to the Hawkeyes

Iowa lands the #9 pound-for-pound recruit from the class of 2021.


Our season may have abruptly ended from unforeseen circumstances. From something so far beyond our control that even the most ridiculous of Hollywood scripts couldn’t have predicted it. But just because the season is unceremoniously over doesn’t mean that the wrestling world can’t forge ahead and that’s exactly what the Iowa Hawkeyes proved today.

One of the biggest recruits in the country took to Twitter on a boring Wednesday afternoon to announce that he knew where he was heading. That he was done thinking and ready to kick ass. That he wanted to commit to something truly special.

Drake Ayala is junior from Fort Dodge, IA. He’s a 3x finalist and 2x time state champ with a combined record of 132-2. He’s the #2 ranked 120lber in the country and #9 p4p overall recruit, according to Flowrestling. In addition to his exceptionally high ranking he’s backed up the hype-machine by winning Junior National Titles in both freestyle and folkstyle and is also Cadet National freestyle champ.

Ayala was arguably the most coveted lightweight in the country and we just landed him. Most Hawkeye fans thought we had a solid chance, but things are never a guarantee, especially when you’re in a dogfight with Ohio State, North Carolina, Michigan, and Iowa State. But the homegrown phenom knew exactly what he needed to do and where he needed to go and why he needed to go there when interviewed by Hawkcentral.

”Just everything. It’s where I felt the most comfortable and where I think I can grow the most as a wrestler and as a person.”

Unless the NCAA decides to grant an additional year of eligibility for winter and spring sports athletes, Spencer Lee is going to be graduating just in time for Ayala to step in and take over. With Lee likely shifting his attention to freestyle and joining the Hawkeye Wrestling Club along with former Hawkeye superstars, Thomas Gilman and Cory Clark, Ayala is going to have the best training partners in the country and that factored into his decision.

”It’s awesome knowing that they have partners like that for me, so obviously that’s a plus, but just the environment, people, opportunities. It was a lot more than just wrestling.”

The Hawkeyes pulled in one of the most impressive classes for 2020 and with the addition of Ayala, we’re now doing the same for 2021. Ayala joins p4p #18 Wyatt Henson, #33 Caleb Rathjen, and Colorado state champ Cam Lucero.

For a complete list of all our incoming recruits please look below, but Ayala will be a year behind two other primetime lightweight recruits, #18 Jesse Ybarra and #56 Cullan Schriever.

Coincidentally, Ayala has only lost twice in his high school career and both of those loses are to Schriever. Tom and Terry Brands are hoping these two rivals, along with Ybarra, are going to form the next one-two punch at the top of the lineup following Cory Clark/ Tony Ramos, Thomas Gilman/ Cory Clark, and most recently Spencer Lee/ Austin DeSanto.

Those are mighty big shoes to fill, but if there’s any lightweights in the country that can do it, it’s these guys.

BHGP would like to say, “Welcome home, Drake.” But you never left and that’s the way we like it.

Class of 2020:

#3 Patrick Kennedy

#18 Jesse Ybarra

#56 Cullan Schriever

#62 Bretli Reyna

Gabe Christenson

Colby Schriever

Leif Schroeder

Class of 2021:

#9 Drake Ayala

#18 Wyatt Henson

#33 Caleb Rathjen

Cam Lucero.

***rankings are from the respective 2020 / 2021 Flowrestling Big Boards