Elyria junior Dylan Shawver added to his highlight-filled wrestling season Monday afternoon when he orally committed to Rutgers University.
Shawver — ranked No. 7 in the nation by Intermat and No. 11 in the nation by FloWrestling — was contacted by nearly 30 college coaches and narrowed his list of finalists to Rutgers, Purdue and North Carolina State before finally picking the Scarlet Knights.
“Rutgers matched up with what he was looking for, so I’m excited for him,” Elyria coach Erik Burnett said. “He really liked it there. He felt comfortable with the guys, the coaches. He liked the campus a lot, the program. He likes the direction they’re going.”
Shawver said narrowing down dozens of calls from coaches wasn’t the easiest of tasks.
“It was a little hard at first because I didn’t know what I wanted,” Shawver said. “But once I took my visits, I knew I wanted to go to Rutgers. I like it a lot … it just felt like home to me.”
Shawver said he visited six colleges during his recruitment, and had been on several other campuses while competing in wrestling tournaments.
He listed the coaching staff, the campus and the overall environment as big reasons he picked the New Jersey school.
The Pioneers put together one of the toughest schedules possible for an Ohio high school program, with stops at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman, Beast of the East, Brecksville Holiday and Maumee Bay Classic along the way. Shawver won’t miss a beat competing in the Big Ten, which boasts six of the top 10 wrestling programs in college, including No. 1 Penn State and No. 2 Ohio State.
Rutgers is ranked No. 18 in the nation.
“I think that’s good for me as far as the competition, but I didn’t really look at the conferences when I chose my college,” said Shawver, who is undecided on a major.
Shawver placed fourth at the Division I state tournament as a freshman and finished as the 113-pound state runner-up last season.
After two years at 113, he bumped up two weight classes and is the projected state champion at 126 pounds this season. It’s a weight Burnett expects he’ll stay at through the rest of his high school career.
“I think (Rutgers wants) him at 125, at least at the beginning, which I think is a great fit for him,” Burnett said. “They’re going to watch over him and that’s what every coach wants. They’re going to take care of him and they wanted him, and that’s key.”
Shawver (29-4) opened the season by placing at the Ironman, then became the first Elyria wrestler to place three times at Beast of the East at the University of Delaware, placed for the third time at Brecksville and won his second straight Maumee Bay Classic championship — beating nationally ranked wrestlers in nearly every event. Three of his four defeats are to wrestlers ranked in the nation’s top five.
Shawver still has the Greater Cleveland Conference tournament to go this year. He is a two-time GCC finalist and won the 2017 title.
Outside of the high school season, Shawver has put together a stellar freestyle wrestling resume. He is a Junior freestyle state champion and advanced to the Junior freestyle round of 12 at the nationals in Fargo, N.D. He is also a two-time Cadet freestyle national duals All-American and a two-time Cadet freestyle nationals All-American.
Shawver will join a lengthy list of Elyria wrestlers who went on to compete in college.
“It’s more important than a kid winning a state title,” Burnett said. “We as coaches have to help these kids figure out what their priorities are and is the place you’re looking at going to meet those priorities … is it going to satisfy what you’re looking for?
“We’ve been through the process before. Sometimes a kid has 15 things he’s looking at in a school. (Shawver) went there and they had everything he wanted. He really liked it.”
Now he can get back to his regularly scheduled mat domination.
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