It’s a small but strong class that head coach Scott Goodale introduced as his 2018 recruiting class: Nicolas Aguilar, Jake Benner, Billy Janzer, Kyle Lighter and Malcolm Robinson. They all signed National Letters of Intent (NLI's) to compete for the Scarlet Knights beginning next fall.
Four of the recruits are ranked in the top 20 of their respective weight classes: Janzer (No. 5, 182 lbs), Robinson (No. 7, 145 lbs), Aguilar (No. 9, 120 lbs), and Benner (No. 18, 145 lbs). Those are Intermat rankings and their high school weight classes. Of perhaps greater significance is the fact that three of them - Benner, Janzer and Lightner - are New Jersey state champions from 2017.
"This is a class that certainly takes care of our needs, as all five are blue-chip recruits that are in the top-100 Intermat rankings for their weight classes," Goodale said. "There's a lot of titles, state championships and national titles in this group, so these guys have won at the highest level. It is one of the best classes we have ever brought in."
The three wrestlers who competed for New Jersey high schools all have those state titles on their resume. Jake Benner won his title at 138 for Ocean Township and looks to wrestle at 149 in college. Delsea’s Billy Janzer was Region 8’s outstanding wrestler before taking the 170 title in Atlantic City. And Kyle Lightner strengthens the upper weights, having won the 197 title wrestling for Delaware Valley.
Blair Academy has been producing prep champions forever. It is not that usual an occurrence, though, for Rutgers to pull in one of their grads, but Scott Goodale did so in Malcolm Robinson.
Wrestling for Blair, Robinson has competed against some of the top competition on a national stage.
California is not a place that Rutgers gets many wrestlers from, either. But the state did produce four NCAA qualifiers last spring,one less than New Jersey. And in Nick Aguilar, the Knights bring in quality at the lower end of the lineup. If you want to look into the future and play out the lineup over the next two years, Aguilar comes in as Nick Suriano enters his junior season and can redshirt. Assuming Suriano stays at 125, he has a very strong backup/competition in his senior and Aguilar’s RF year.
For complete resumes on the five commits, check here.
Yeah, the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 125. He’s ours!
Rutgers has seven wrestlers ranked by at least one of the ranking organizations this week. And that includes Anthony Ashnault who has not even competed yet. Nick Suriano tops all RU wrestlers with his No. 1 spot from Amateur Wrestling News while Richie Lewis, who will be wrestling with the national U23 team in Poland, has the most top ten rankings of the group aside from Suriano.
Ten Big Ten teams are in the top 25 of this week’s NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll. And four are behind Rutgers.
Rutgers jumped past Arizona State, but the early rankings are tough to judge as many teams are wrestling in tournaments and not dual matches. Once the dual season gets into fulll swing, the placements tend to solidify and better reflect head-to-head matches.
Rutgers travels to West Point this Saturday to compete at the Army Invitational. The field includes Binghamton, Bloomsburg, UT-Chattanooga, Lock Haven, Maryland and Rutgers.