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Article:InterMat.Blog: Today's Four Points

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I think I like the concept of doing a daily four-points type of thing. I don’t know if the readership will grow now that I’ve made the blog concept of InterMat availalbe for free. If anything, I can use this for more of a daily news kind of thing … basically to just give the public some quick things to may be discuss.

Some notes … another beautiful day in Pennsylvania. 72 degrees before lunch. This is definitely a day for disc golf. Gas went up another four cents. The Sheetz by the office is now at $3.49 for regular.

Now, on to today’s four points.

Recruiting News- how does it work? With Division I, II, NAIA and NJCAA, there are letters of intent programs that many schools participate in. We all know NLI/LOI jargon due to several recent issues with recruits changing their mind or signing with a school and then saying, “nah, I’ll go somewhere else.” The most recent NLI rift was with the dreaded Iowa vs. Virginia Tech fiasco of two years ago. Well, how does this work in other divisions?

The NAIA can sign athletes at any time, this is why you will see wrestlers from schools like Campbellsville, Cumberland (both of ‘em), Lindenwood, Dana, etc., have a kid reported as “signed” during a time where the NCAA doesn’t have an opening to sign. Basically, anything after the early signing period, Division I and Division II signees have to wait until April to officially sign. The NJCAA has a similar process, only they have taken it one step further.

They are allowed 16 signings … the rest would be considered walk-ons, but the NJCAA actually lists those signees on its web site, making it much easier to find out what is a legitimate signing and what isn’t.

Division III is a bit funky, because they are non-scholarship and you’re not signing a letter of intent with those programs. However, since coaches cannot comment under NCAA rules about kids until the sign, D3 programs have another way of being able to report this — deposits.

Yes, the deposit sent in for acceptance and all that jazz is good enough for us. It shows the athlete will be attending that school. Yes, there are last-minute bailouts, just like any place else, but if a deposit is sent in, it’s a pretty safe bet that’s where you’re going to go.

Heir Apparent Coach Mark Bauer at Nebraska-Kearney will lose one of the great wrestlers in Division II history in heavyweight Tervel Dlagnev. The Texan helped boost the Lopers to the D-2 national title by half a point over rival Minnesota State-Mankato this past season. Dlagnev, who is going to be a real threat in the future for possible Olympic and world teams, wasn’t highly regarded coming out of high school. He’d only started wrestling in the 10th grade and Texas isn’t (yet) the hotbed of wrestling recruiting.

But while Bauer’s most recent signee isn’t a Texan, he’s an accomplished California heavyweight that should be able to step right in. Jonathen Zamora of Clovis was fourth this past year in the one-class CIF state tournament and secont the year before. That foundation should give him a good start in developing as a college wrestler. I’m not saying he’s the next Dlagnev, but Divison II’s top heavies are typically very good and can hang with D1’s big guns more often than not. Statistically, I can’t back that up, but Brady Wilson (Mankato), Les Sigman (formerly of UNO), Dlagnev and Dustin Finn (UCO) can all hang and have done well in recent years. I’m curious to see how Zamora develops in Kearney.

Who is still out there? Frequently, I’ll get calls or texts from college coaches asking me who is “still out there” when it comes to available recruits. The Top 100 is initially put together in June, released on July 1, at the start of the new recruiting cycle. A lot of things happen between the start of that list, the update after Fargo and the end of the season. Kids have a way of making those of us “experts” (term used absolutely loosely) look bad on so many occasions. Thankfully for all of us wrestling fans, rankings and projections are just that, rankings and projections. I mean, the last two #1 recruits by InterMat in the last two seasons didn’t finish their collective wrestling season’s in 2007-08. David Craig, the top recruit of the Class of 2006, and Cody Gardner, tops in the Class of 2007, both were MIA this season.

So of the initial Top 100 recruits, who is still out there? You have to go down to #35 to find the first unsigned kid in the Top 100, two-time California state champion Rudi Burtschi of Oakdale. Burtschi moved up to 215 this season and captured his second title. Actually, keep going and you’ll find #36 and #37 also unsigned. Cole Von Ohlen of Jackson County Central in Minnesota and Tyrell Fortune of Oregon are sitting there. Not sure about Von Ohlen’s options, but Fortune’s probably going the JUCO route as Sierra College in California (part of the CCC) and Iowa Central have both been listed as options. We’re sure there are more. Patrick Hunter of St. Benedict’s in New Jersey is techincally still “unsigned” … at least, he hasn’t shown up on the NJCAA web site. He let us know a few weeks ago he’s going to Iowa Central, but until it shows up on that signings page … he’s still not going to be listed. It’s just part of the rules I like to follow.

Parkersburg (W.Va.) senior Andy Thomas is still on the table, but football could be his route. Blair Academy’s Anthony Valles is also still out there, as is another West Virginian, Seth Easter of Nitro. Maurice Fleming of Maryland is being eyed by a few schools, but test scores have to come up and Fleming’s working on it. He’s got D1 talent.  Minnesota’s Josh Wiseman, Illinois’ Jeff Bybee Iowa’s Travis Taylor, Michigan’s Travis Pettengill, Kansas’ Philip Henes, Alabama’s Kyle Cuthbertson and Oregon’s Mitchell Lofstedt are still on the board.

UFC 83 I haven’t forgotten about the UFC event coming up this weekend or the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Personally, I was stoked about the new season of “Deadliest Catch,” but wrestling crab pots doesn’t stir up any world titles.  Locally, there aren’t many places to watch the UFC short of spending 50 bones on your own cable system and try to prod your deadbeat friends into ponying up 10 bucks a head for the show.

Solution: Drive out to York (Pa.). Last week at the Brute Scholastic Showcase, we found a place that shows all the UFC fights to the public for free. Well, not really free, you’re still going to buy wings, chicken sandwiches and maybe some oysters, so you’re paying for something.

And of course, we have to throw a shout out to the resident UFC blogger in the wrestling community. Check out ChicksHeartFights for a woman’s perspective on the UFC and the new season of TUF. It’s good stuff.

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