Promising new recruits for wrestling team

By Mike Buda

New recruits can either set up a program for success or set it back for a year.

The NIU wrestling team announced its recruiting class for the 2011-2012 season with six successful signees.

NIU head coach Dave Grant is in his fifteenth and final season with the program, and left the recruiting duties to Ryan Ludwig and Dominick Moyer.

“Those guys are hard workers,” Grant said. “Staying up hours after work and calling and then getting here at 6:30 [a.m.], going to morning practice, work all day in the office, go to the next practice, get something to eat and then stay from 7 to 10 o’clock at night just calling recruits. You’re going to be successful working like that.”

Ludwig has been with the program for almost half of Grant’s tenure, and this is all familiar territory for him.

“It’s been business as usual,” Ludwig said. “This is my sixth year now, and I came in and one of my main responsibilities was to head up the recruiting efforts. I take a lot of pride in that area. Coach Grant is an excellent recruiter, he’s been doing it a long time and I’ve learned a great deal from him.”

With this being Grant’s last season, he stepped back a bit from the phones and gave Moyer a bigger role in the process.

“Ryan [Ludwig] has taught me a lot and the recruiting has been great,” said Moyer. “It’s another thing that I got to be a big part of and it’s just one of those things of learning to coach. Part of it is getting to know the kids, spending a lot of hours watching film, trying to get the kids that we want and doing all of that so it’s been a great experience.”

The Huskies signed Tyler Argue, brother of current NIU wrestler Charles, Ethan Davis, Nick Harrison, Jackson Bratcher, Ryan Smith and Thorian Twyner.

Twyner, Harrison and Davis are all state champions and Bratcher and Argue have placed in their state tournaments.

Smith doesn’t have the accolades of his fellow new Huskies, but the coaches see a lot of promise from him.

“He’s a very tough kid and relatively unknown right now, but he’s got a lot of upside and expect him to do a lot of damage this year in his high school,” Ludwig said.

Their high school accomplishments are well noted, and the coaches believe they can come in and compete for starting spots right away, but it will take some time to see what they’re capable of.

“You have to wait and get them into the room before you see what’s going on with these guys,” said Ludwig. “I can see so much from the way they compete in high school. Taking the step to this level is always a different change for the guys.”