The University of Minnesota wrestling program has officially wrapped up its 2022 recruiting class, finishing with eight signed wrestlers, the largest fall class in over 10 years.
The recruiting class includes notable talents such as Gable Steveson of Apple Valley, Minn. along with Brayton Lee of Brownsburg, Ind. Minnesota also picked up great in-state talent with Patrick McKee, Caden Steffen, and Jake Gliva. The Maroon and Gold picked up great out of state talent as well, with this year’s recruiting class spreading across four different states. Kasper McIntosh joins Lee from Indiana while Garrett Joles crosses the border from Wisconsin and Ryan Thomas from Ohio.
“Overall, I think this is one of the most balanced recruiting classes we have ever had here at Minnesota,” head coach Brandon Eggum said. “We have some really talented guys that are more than just good wrestlers; they are outstanding people off the mat as well.”
Steveson, a three-time Minnesota state champion, and a two-time world champion wrestler, is currently ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the heavyweight class, and some also have him ranked as the No. 1 wrestler, pound-for-pound. The high school senior finished his junior campaign with a 42-0 record and a state title with 41 pins and an 11-second pin in the state championship match. Steveson has not lost a match since he was in eighth grade and is 170-3 in his career.
From Brownsburg, Ind., Lee has dominated in his own right. The nation’s top-ranked 152-pounder is a two-time state champion, both undefeated seasons. Outside of high school, Lee was the champion at the Who’s #1 event in October in the 152-pound division. Lee also brought home third at Fargo two separate times and has finished third at Super 32.
Hailing from St. Michael Albertville, Patrick McKee, younger brother of current Gopher Mitch McKee, was the first to officially sign with Minnesota. The lightweight was most recently seen at the Daktronics, where he wrestled college competition and came out with a second place finish. McKee caught the attention of many with his performance at the Who’s #1 event where he dazzled his way to first place in 120-pounds. McKee is also a two-time state champion in the state of Minnesota.
In the fourth state that this year’s Gopher Wrestling recruiting class travels from, Thomas joins the Maroon and Gold from Ohio. Thomas won the Super 32 tournament that was held just a few short weeks ago in North Carolina and has pushed his ranking to a top-five talent at 160-pounds.
Gliva, another Minnesota product, is a two-time state champion from Simley High School. He has also placed four-times at the state tournament, and his two state titles in two separate divisions. The Inver Grove Heights, Minn. native also has seen success in folkstyle. He was a Junior Folkstyle National Champion.
Crossing the border, Joles will bring his Wisconsin state title to the University of Minnesota. In his junior year, Joles finished with a 44-1 record at 195 pounds. He also has been a finalist in all three seasons, picking up silver medals in his freshman and sophomore years.
Back in Minnesota, Steffen, of Zumbrota, Minn., was able to capture a state championship at 182-pounds in his junior season. Steffen pinned three of his four opponents in the state tournament, putting his 2016-17 season record at 46-4. The future Gopher also finished second in his sophomore season.
Coached by former Gopher Leroy Vega, McIntosh has seen success in his home state of Indiana. Just a few weeks ago, McIntosh finished fifth at the Super 32 tournament and is ranked inside the top-10 at 145-pounds. McIntosh has also been a runner-up in the Indiana State tournament.