Under Tom Brands, the Iowa wrestling program has cast a wide net when it comes to recruiting and they've pulled in wrestlers from both coasts and (obviously) a slew of wrestlers from the midwest. That said, while they've grabbed some wrestlers from the east coast before -- Mike Evans and Josh Dziewa both hail from Pennsylvania and Bobby Telford is from Delaware -- they haven't pulled in that many and they haven't grabbed many from New York. That's changing now that 4-time All-State, 2-time state finalist, and 1-time New York state champion wrestler Burke Paddock has given his verbal commitment to Iowa.
Paddock went 54-1 with 40 pins (including a pin at every round in the state tournament) as a junior on his way to a state title last year at 160 lbs. Not surprisingly, Paddock projects at 165 or 174 lbs. in college. Intermat tabs Paddock as the #39 recruit ($) in the 2014 recruiting class, although given how early we are in the process, there's certainly room for that ranking to improve (or go the other direction). In an interview conducted this past weekend, Paddock indicated that he chose Iowa because he "love[s] the way the Iowa team wrestles" and because of the quality of the guys he'll be able to wrestle against in the Iowa practice room. Paddock looks like he could help fill Iowa's medium-term need at 165 lbs. Iowa has Nick Moore returning this fall as a junior, but in theory they could have Moore wrestle 2013-14 (when Paddock will be a high school senior) and 2014-15 (when Paddock would be a true freshman at Iowa) and have Paddock take over in 2015-16 as a redshirt freshman.
Paddock comes from a pretty strong wrestling family, as he has two brothers who have wrestled for (or still are wrestling for) Division I programs. His oldest brother, Paul, wrestled for Edinboro, while another older brother, Ian, currently wrestles for Ohio State (and is expected to be their starter at 149 lbs. in 2013-14). Hopefully Burke is the best of the bunch.
Frankly, we already love him the most of those three -- and not just because he chose Iowa rather than a rival school. No, we love him the most because "Burke Paddock" is a goddamn great wrestling name. It rolls off the tongue and it just sounds tough. Burke Paddock. It sounds like the name of the hard-bitten cop Steve McQueen would have played in the greatest 70s cop movie never made. It's also a name ready-made for the WWE; it's a name Vince McMahon himself would love. Hell, I can already imagine him tagging with Curtis Axel...
Of course, Paddock's commitment comes just as Penn State landed their own future 165 lber, #1 recruit (and Pennsylvania native) Chance Marsteller. Marsteller has been the top-ranked high school wrestler for the last two years and has been considered by many to be the heir apparent to David Taylor; now he'll have a shot to literally replace Taylor in Penn State's lineup. Marsteller represents yet another elite prospect snapped up by Cael Sanderson and while there's no guarantee that he'll be as successful as Taylor or Ed Ruth have been, he'll certainly bring a ton of potential into the Penn State wrestling room. As noted earlier, we're still pretty early in the 2014 recruiting process so it would be beyond absurd to panic already, but Iowa does already have some ground to make up on Penn State in the caring is creepy sweepstakes. Hopefully Brands & Co. are plotting their next moves carefully. But back to the matter at hand -- welcome aboard, Mr. Paddock. We're looking forward to seeing you in black and gold in a few years.
And if you're wanting some video footage...
Paddock is the wrestler in the dark-colored singlet.