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Ryan attracts top-rated recruiting class to Ohio State

by Dan Wallenberg, Ohio State athletics

Graphic of Tom Ryan courtesy of

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Tom Ryan, head coach of the Buckeyes, announced the signing of eight recruits who will join the Ohio State program for the start of the 2022-23 season. The group individually is rated among the best nationally and the combined class is rated No. 1.

Nic Bouzakis, Gavin Brown, Nick Feldman, Luke Goeg, Brendan McCrone, Jesse Mendez and Seth Shumate all signed national letters of intent to become Buckeyes.

Ohio State also added Broderick Harris as an honorary member of the program.

“Our staff is excited to add this special group of student-athletes to Buckeye Nation,” Ryan said. “In my 30 years of collegiate coaching, this is one of the finest recruiting classes. We have addressed future needs at several weight classes with very high level competitors. Each of them wrestle a high tempo style of wrestling.

“Each of these men have exhibited the traits that have led to a life of sustained improvement,” Ryan said. “The process of building a trusting relationship with these men and their families has been a lot of fun. All of them have the foundational love and support at home necessary to focus on a sport they deeply care for. We want to thank all of the families and coaches who have poured into this special group of people. The future is bright in Columbus.”

Bouzakis is ranked as the Top 132-pound wrestler nationally and the No. 2 overall recruit (FloWrestling). He attends high school at Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory in Pennsylvania. Bouzakis already has won Fargo, Super 32, Ironman, Eastern States and National Preps championships. He has a career high school record of 117-5 heading into his senior season.

Gavin Brown, who attends Legacy Christian Academy in Xenia, Ohio, won the Ohio state title at 126 pounds as a freshman in 2019. He was one of the top contenders at 138 before the 2020 tournament was canceled. He enters his final HS season with a 78-8 record as one of the Top 20 college prospects overall.

Nick Feldman, No. 1 ranked at wrestler in the country at 220 pounds as well as the No. 3 overall recruit, enters his senior season with a 102-15 record. He wrestles for Melvern Prep in Pennsylvania. He currently owns titles in the Beast of the East, National Preps and the 16u Greco National Championship in Fargo.

Luke Geog, of nearby Upper Arlington, Ohio, recently finished third at the 2021 Junior Nationals at 170 pounds. Wrestling for St. Edwards High School, Geog is rated as a Top 50 wrestler in the Class of 2022. Part of the 2022 State Champion Lakewood St. Edward Eagles, the 34th state title for the school. Geog was the runner up at 170 pounds in the 2021 state tournament.

Brendan McCrone finished as the Ohio D-II runner up (42-3) at 120 pounds in the 2021 state tournament last March. Lake Catholic (Mentor, Ohio) finished fifth as a team. In the 2019 state tournament, McCrone finished sixth in the 106-pound bracket.

Jesse Mendez is considered the No. 1 recruit nationally. He hails from Crown Point, Indiana. A three-time Indiana state high school champion (126, 132, 138) with a career record of 114-1, he will be shooting to become just the 10th wrestler in Indiana high school wrestling history to win four titles.

Seth Shumate, a native of Galion, Ohio, is the top ranked wrestler at 197 pounds. He attends Dublin (Ohio) Coffman High School and is rated the No. 19 overall recruit in the class of 2022. The two-time Ohio high school state champion (195), Shumate was 43-0 as a freshman and put together a 30-1 record in winning the state title as a junior. The state tournament was canceled his sophomore season. Most recently, he was the runner up at the Fargo junior freestyle national tournament last summer.

In addition, the Buckeyes posthumously add Broderick Harris to the Ohio State program. Harris, who had an incredible love for wrestling, was 11 years old when he died as a result of a house fire Dec. 26, 2014. He ranked second in the state wrestling championship and also was on a traveling wrestling team that placed 4th and 7th in the Nationals. A tireless competitor, Harris was a 6th-grader at Washington Middle School in Washington Court House, Ohio.

“Broderick was a rising star not only as a competitive wrestler but as a young man as well,” Ryan said. “He attended our camps and clinics and from early on we knew he was a special human being. We are thrilled to have Broderick and the Harris family join our program in such an inspirational manner.”