Rutgers Wrestling finished the season ranked No. 10 and at the NCAA Wrestling Tournament in 15th place, a new high for the program. And it matched a program high with a consensus top ten recruiting class, ranked as high and No. 3 by WIN Magazine.
It wasn't the first time that coach Scott Goodale had signed a top ten class, having brought in the No. 3 class in 2007. But the cachet of the Big Ten can do nothing but elevate the program. And this year's recruiting class is an example of where Rutgers can go. Rutgers was also ranked in the top-10 nationally by Intermat (No. 9) and by FloWrestling (No. 9).
Six New Jersey wrestlers are in the eight man class. Four of the eight them have won at least one state title. The class includes Matthew Correnti (197 lb), Brett Donner (165), John Finnerty (149), Joseph Grello (165), Brandon Paetzell (125), and Mike Van Brill. Joining the program from Ohio is Alex Mackall (125) and from New York is Bergen Catholic product Kevin Mulligan (197).
Mulligan (No. 50), Correnti (No. 54), Paetzell (No. 62), Grello (No. 70), and Mackall (No. 71) are considered top 100 overall recruits in the nation, according to Intermat. Donner, meanwhile, was ranked No. 14 nationally at 182 pounds at the time of his commitment.
Goodale has changed the culture (where have we heard that?) at RU, and the addition of New Jersey native Donny Pritzlaff has added to that. Joining the staff in 2014, as RU entered the Big Ten, his influence is strong in developing talent to the level of the conference.
Quick Overview of the Recruits
Matt Correnti was a four-time NJSIAA placewinner, capping off his career with a state title at 220 pounds in 2016. The Holy Cross product also finished second, third, and eighth at states in his career.
Brett Donner finished third in the state tournament at 170 pounds in 2016 and 2014 and was 97-6 in four seasons at Wall.
The Bergen Catholic HS duo of Joseph Grello and Kevin Mulligan won back-to-back state NJSIAA state titles to finish their scholastic careers. Mulligan finished atop the podium at 195 pounds in 2016 and at 182 pounds in 2015. Grello posted two-straight championships at 170 pounds.
Brandon Paetzell, who had a successful career at Phillipsburg, was the NJSIAA runner-up at 132 pounds in 2016 and at 106 pounds in 2014. He was a 2014 Beast of the East champion.
Mike Van Brill, a high school All-American, won Region 8 and was the 2016 runner-up at 138 pounds at the NJSIAA state finals. Finnerty was the Region 6 champion and placed sixth at 145 pounds representing Point Pleasant Beach.
Hailing from Ohio, Alex Mackall was the 2014 state champion at 120 pounds for Walsh Jesuit HS and the 2015 runner-up. Mackall was also a high school All-American.
John Finnerty is from Pt. Pleasant Beach finished his career with a 109-17 record, including 60 pins. He finished sixth in the 2016 NJSIAA tournament.
On the academic front....
And don't forget....