The Central Michigan wrestling team secured a significantly smaller recruiting class for the 2012 season than years past.
After a 2011 class that featured 13 wrestlers, the team announced Tuesday that Corey Keener, Austin Severn and Nick Becker are the only incoming wrestlers of the 2012 class.
“Things are based on how much money you have,” head coach Tom Borrelli said. “That’s how it goes. Wrestling is a little different than the head-count sports where you give out full scholarships. In wrestling, you break your scholarships up.”
The three newcomers were offered partial scholarships, which is a common practice for CMU. Borrelli described the process of recruiting as “very, very difficult” in the off-season.
“We don’t have much to offer,” Borrelli said. “The pool of people who are interested is smaller.”
All three wrestlers are ranked in the top-20 of their weight class nationally. Borrelli said they share more than that accolade, however.
“The biggest thing is they all wanted to be a part of Central Michigan University,” Borrelli said. “The second thing is all of them were very successful wrestlers in high school … the third thing is they’re all very good students.”
Keener, a Schuylkill Haven, Penn. native, has won the USA National Championship twice in freestyle as well as Greco-Roman.
Borrelli said the last USA National Champion to sign with CMU was Ben Bennett, who will try to be the first four-time All-American in Chippewa history this coming season.
Severn, the 12th-ranked recruit at 195-pounds in the country, according to InterMat, is the lone Michigan native in the class. Wrestling for New Lothrop, he won the MHSAA State Championship twice.
He was undefeated his junior year, winning 61 matches. Although he had an imperfect 56-3 record his senior year, he pinned all four opponents in the 2012 State Championships.
Borrelli said Severn was less sought after, because he made a late decision to wrestle instead of playing football in college. He was named a first-team All-State linebacker in Division 7 and 8 by the Detroit News.
Becker, a Hartford, Wis. native, had a career record of 182-25 at Hartford Union High School. The 165-pound wrestler won the WIAA Division I 152 State Championship his senior season.
“We just needed some depth at that weight class,” Borrelli said. “We just think that with development, he’s going to be a big part of our program in the future.”
All three wrestlers will redshirt this year, contrary to last season when then true-freshmen Zach Horan, Mike Ottinger and Joey Kielbasa combined to start in 46 duals.
“That was very unusual for our program,” Borrelli said. “They’re going to be able to grow and mature without being under the fire.”