Penn State Wrestling Recruiting Dominance Continues: Meet Potential 2025 Superstars

Penn State Wrestling, Carter Starocci
Carter Starocci of Penn State Wrestling (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Cael Sanderson and the Penn State Wrestling Team have been an unstoppable force on the recruiting trail the past several cycles. And for good reason. The Nittany Lions have won 10 out of the last 12 NCAA Championships, which includes back-to-back NCAA team titles in 2022 and 2023. In just the last three NCAA tournaments, Penn State Wrestling has taken home a staggering 11 individual titles. I know, right? It’s a crazy notion to think the best high school wrestlers in the nation want to get into the best college wrestling room in the country where they can be trained by the best coaching staff. It’s not rocket surgery. Penn State Wrestling recruiting has become a powerhouse. Sanderson and company brought in a solid class in 2023 as they had three grapplers ranked inside the top 25. Josh Barr (No. 8 174/184) highlighted the class while Braedan Davis (No. 16 125/133) and Tyler Kasak (No. 25 149/157) looked to be integral parts of the team in the not too distant future. And if the 2023 recruiting class got the Penn State faithful giddy, the 2024 class has them absolutely weak at the knees. This stellar class has six wrestlers ranked in the top 18 and includes five of the top overall nine. Just take a look at this behemoth of a class: No. 2 Luke Lilledahl 125/133No. 5 Joe Sealey 165/174No. 6 Zack Ryder 184/197No. 8 Mason Gibson 125/133No. 9 Connor Mirasola 184/197No. 18 Cole Mirasola 184/197 “How on earth can the Nittany Lions possibly top that?” Just when I’m trying to get to the main point of the article, the voice of my completely made up Penn State fan always comes through with the best questions. Thanks! 

Penn State Wrestling Recruiting Top 2025 Targets

 Let’s try to answer that by highlighting a couple of possible 2025 recruiting targets for the Nittany Lions (official recruiting calls start on June 15th). All rankings are as of the latest FloWrestling 2025 Big Board rankingsNo. 21 Dalton PerryHigh school: Central MountainProjected weight: 141/149 This is an easy one as Dalton officially committed to the Nittany Lions back in late March of 2022. Perry took home a PIAA individual title his freshman year at 126 and he recently finished third in the state this past season at 139. He should slot very nicely into the Penn State lineup behind Beau Bartlett at 141 or Shayne Van Ness at 149, depending on where his body ends up once he lands on campus.

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No. 12 William HenckelHigh school: Blair AcademyProjected weight: 165/174 Blair Academy is a wrestling powerhouse in high school and Cael Sanderson has used this to his full advantage by plucking several recruits from their storied program. The most recent of which is Shayne Van Ness who’s fresh off his first podium finish and All-American honors from the 2023 NCAA’s. And, the other one that comes to mind should be a household name to the Nittany Lion fanbase as Ed Ruth, is clearly one of the best to ever don the blue and white singlet. Henckel could very well follow in the footsteps of these two impressive grapplers as he would be a great fit towards the upper end of the lineup. Between Josh Barr (174/184), Joe Sealey (165/174), and Zack Ryder (184/197) Penn State should have the upper weights covered. However they may need to fill in behind the 165 weight class which is currently occupied by Alex Facundo and possibly Levi Haines down the road. That would be perfect for Henckel. No. 9 Leo DeLucaHigh school: Blair AcademyProjected weight: 125/133 DeLuca is another Blair Academy phenom to make the list, however I’m not sure where he will land on Penn State’s radar. Not because he isn’t good. Nope, he’s plenty talented on the wrestling mat as he was the 2021 Fargo U16 freestyle champion at only 14 years old. Westling for Blair Academy will further hone his skills on the Resilite to where he will no doubt be a coveted recruit in the 2025 cycle. Rather, the biggest reason Leo may commit to another program is the log jam Penn State has in the future at some of the lighter weights. Between Gary Steen (sophomore), Cael Nasdeo (true freshman), Braedan Davis (true freshman), Aaron Nagao (sophomore), Luke Lilledahl (2024 recruit), and Mason Gibson (2024 recruit) the Nittany Lions have a bountiful group of lightweights for the first time in awhile. At least since he-who-shall-not-be-named spurned Penn State and transferred to Rutgers right before the 2017-2018 season. But do you know what’s better than having a lot of supremely gifted grapplers in your wrestling room? Having more. No. 7 Nathan DesmondHigh school: Wyoming Seminar (transferred from Bethlehem Catholic)Projected weight: 125/133 One of the most recent additions to the Nittany Lions roster is Tyler Kasak who came in as the No. 25 overall recruit in 2023. And when he committed to Cael Sanderson in May of 2022, the speculation kicked into high gear regarding some of his younger classmates. With Desmond being one of them. In his first two years at Bethlehem Catholic, Nathan snagged two PIAA state titles at 106 and 114 pounds. And with the news that broke several weeks ago, Nathan Desmond is now with Wyoming Seminary. If Blair Academy is somewhat of a recruiting pipeline to Penn State, then Wyoming Seminary should be considered a trans-Atlantic pipeline. Currently Nittany Lion Beau Bartlett attended WS and both Luke Lilledahl and Joe Sealey are teammates there. But the same potential problem may exist with Desmond as well. Where would he fit into the lineup? The great news is that it’s not up to me. You’re welcome Penn State fans! Trust in Cael. No. 5 Jude CorreaHigh school: Wyoming SeminaryProjected weight: 197/285 Correa has two PIAA titles to his name as he won his freshman year at 182 and then his sophomore year at 190. Jude is projected to wrestle his junior campaign at 215 and he has the build and the body to slot in as a heavyweight in college. Which is potentially great news for whichever collegiate program lands him. And he would be a perfect fit for the Nittany Lions due to Greg Kerkvliet only having two years remaining to crush the soul of every opponent he faces. Once the recruiting calls start to flow in, my guess is that Correa will field several from Cael, Cody, and Casey. No. 3 Kollin RathHigh school: Bethlehem CatholicProjected weight: 141/149/157 Kollin Rath is the other high school teammate of Kasak’s and he is possibly the most sought after of the two. Rath has put together an impressive high school career at Bethlehem Catholic by compiling a record of 62-3 which includes a third place finish his freshman year and a first place finish this past year at 139 pounds. Kollin projects to be a middleweight in college and he could be a great fit for the Nittany Lions at either 141 or 149 down the road. If there are two “must haves” for Penn State in the 2025 recruiting class then I would put Jude Correa at 1B and Kollin Rath at 1A. But Cael Sanderson steers the ship at Penn State, and if he wants you to wrestle for him then that means you’re pretty darn good and that means there’s a fairly good probability you’ll be in Happy Valley. Because if you want to be a champion there’s no better place to be than in the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex toeing the line against past NCAA champions, world champions, and Olympic gold medalists.

Penn State Wrestling Recruiting
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Chris Snyder
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Chris Snyder

Expertise: College Wrestling, College Football, Lays Chips Education: Penn State University Location: State College, PA Even though he had no prior journalism experience, Chris has now covered Penn State Wrestling and Penn State Football for the past three years, including as the Penn State Wrestling Beat Writer for VictoryBellRings.com, part of the FanSided network. And it's clear he also likes constant torture as he's been a PSU Basketball fan for way too long. Several years back, Chris made the seamless transition from PGA Professional to computer programmer and thoroughly enjoys following and writing about all things related to Penn State sports during his spare time.