Yesterday was a busy day in terms of recruiting and transfers for Iowa sports, with football and wrestling each gaining a pair of newcomers. The most high-profile recruit (relative to his sport) may have been the final commit of the evening, Illinois heavyweight Anthony Cassioppi.
Illinois state champ/Fargo finalist/Folkstyle Nationals champ Anthony Cassioppi has committed to Iowa.
— Andy Hamilton (@Andy_Hamilton) July 5, 2017
Cassioppi, a 2018 recruit, was originally committed to Northwestern last October, but de-committed to visit other schools after deciding that his initial decision had been too hasty. What swayed Cassioppi to Iowa? As he told FloWrestling, the atmosphere was hard to beat:
They have a great room of guys, when I walk into their wrestling room there's just a different atmosphere, you can almost feel champions being forged.
He elaborated on that thought with Hawk Central's Dargan Southaard:
“It’s every kid’s dream to be a wrestler for Iowa. It’s the top of the sport, and I’m so excited to be a Hawkeye.”
Cassioppi went 48-0 as a junior last season and won a 3A state championship at heavyweight. He's been tearing things up outside of the high school circuit, too -- he finished third in Greco-Roman and runner-up in freestyle at Fargo last summer and is poised to improve upon those results at this summer's Fargo tournaments. This off-season, he's already won a Junior National championship in folkstyle, junior Pan Am championships in Greco and freestyle and finishing runner-up in Greco at the UWW Junior World Team Trials.
Cassioppi continues Iowa's efforts to restock their talent at the upper weights. Last year Iowa landed verbal commitments from blue chip 197 lb prospect Jacob Warner (also an Illinois kid) as well as in-state heavyweight Aaron Costello (a Top 100 overall recruit). He's currently the highest-ranked member of Iowa's 2018 recruiting class, at #28 (by Flo) and #32 (by InterMat), ahead of Nelson Brands (#60 by InterMat). The heavyweight spot at Iowa is currently manned by Sam Stoll, whose Iowa career has unfortunately been derailed by a pair of ACL injuries. He has two years of eligibility remaining, which would sync up well with Cassioppi's own eligibility -- Cassioppi can redshirt in 2018-19 while Stoll is a senior and then have four years to compete beginning in 2019-20. (Of course, a starting spot won't be guaranteed, as he'll have to contend with at least Costello for that spot.)
Welcome aboard, Mr. Cassuippi.