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Buffalo Wrestling Announces Recruiting Class, Including 16 New Yorkers

By Courtesy of, 04/25/14, 1:30PM EDT


Courtesy of

BUFFALO, NY – Second-year head coach John Stutzman and the Buffalo wrestling staff announced their 19-man recruiting class, which is highlighted by high school All-Americans, top 150 recruits and State Champions. The 2014-15 class features standout high school grapplers from five different states who have combined for 58 State Championship appearances, 40 State medals and four State Championships.

"I am excited to add these student athletes to our Program," stated Stutzman. "These guys are exactly what we need as we continue to build our program among the nation's elite programs. We want to win MAC Championships and produce All-American student-athletes on and off the mat. The goals here at UB are really simple and this incoming class believes that with hard work, they can get a great education and achieve their team and individual goals."

"Our recruiting coordinator, Coach [Quincy] Osborn, along with coach [Bryce] Hasseman did a tremendous job in finding the right type of guys for our program," said Stutzman. "I am excited along with our entire coaching staff to develop each individual into their fullest potential academically and athletically."

Kyle Akins – Sycamore, IL - Sycamore HS - Projected Weight: 125
Akins is a four year member and two year team captain of the wrestling team at Sycamore High School. As a senior, he compiled a record of 45-1 en route to a second place finish at the Illinois State Tournament, following a junior season in which he collected the state title. He finished his career as a four time state placer and four time conference champion. Was also named All-American on three occasions. He finished in 3rd place at the USA Junior Freestyle Nationals as a junior. Akins is ranked as a top 100 recruit by Flowrestling while also ranking as high as 9th at the 120 pound weight class by Intermat.

Osborn on Akins: "Kyle is a very accomplished wrestler with a lot of success in Illinois which is one of the best wrestling states in the country. At the national level, he's ranked as a Top 150 recruit this year. He has great make-up, good grades, he's a hard worker and he loves the sport of wrestling. Kyle is a guy that can be a leader on and off the mat for us."

Cooksey, Photo by BV

Justin Cooksey – Wantagh, NY – MacArthur HS – Projected Weight: 141
Cooksey earned five letters while at MacArthur High School along with two years as a team captain. As a senior he collected a record of 46-6 while winning a league championship. Cooksey had an impressive career in which he was a finalist at the State tournament twice. Over his five year career, Cooksey earned four league titles and one county title while earning All-County honors on three occasions and being finalist for the county tournament. He also earned academic All-American honors as a senior.

Osborn on Cooksey: "Justin is a two-time D1 New York State finalist; he is a guy that certainly has the potential to make an impact at the next level for us. He's a good competitor and comes from another great wrestling club having trained at Vougar's Honors."

Colt Cotten – Benton, PA - Benton HS - Projected Weight: 149
Cotton transferred to UB from Bloomsburg College after spending one season with the Huskies. Cotton is a four-time state tournament place winner along with a four-time high school All-American and two-time national finalist. Cotton holds the school record with 100 falls accumulated in his four year career at Benton High School. He recorded sectional titles all four year while earning a district championship and regional championship three times.

Osborn on Cotton: "Colt is a huge addition for us as he has been in college for a year already. Coming out of high school last year he was a Top 150 recruit. He is a guy that Coach Stutzman is familiar with and we know what he can bring to the table and we expect him to come in and contribute at a high level."

Jason Estevez – Livingston, NJ - Livingston HS - Projected Weight: 133/141
Estevez had an outstanding high school career at Livingston as he amassed over 140 career wins while being a four-time New Jersey State qualifier and a two-time New Jersey State place winner, finishing third in 2012 and 2013. As a senior, he entered the State Tournament with a 40-1 overall record while earning the second seed and recording his second-straight third place finish at the State Tournament. He also became just the ninth wrestler in Essex County history to win four county wrestling titles.

Osborn on Estevez: "Jason had a very successful high school career in New Jersey which is another tough wrestling state. We have high expectations for him; he has the potential and ability to be the next great wrestler at UB."

Danny Graham – West Seneca, NY – West Seneca East HS - Projected Weight: 149
Graham was a five year member and two year team captain of the wrestling team at West Seneca East High School. Finished in fifth place at the New York State D1 tournament as a senior. He has recorded a Section 6 Championship and ECIC Championship while being a four-time Section 6 placer. He holds the school record for wins (154), single season wins (37, twice), major decisions in a season (12) and technical falls in a season (14). He is the highest state tournament finisher in school history.

Osborn on Graham: "Danny is another local product who also trains at Buffalo Wrestling Club. He is a guy that has had success at the state level and we believe is going to continue to get better; he loves the sport and is a good student as well."

Jake Gunning – Bethlehem, PA - Bethlehem Liberty HS - Projected Weight: 285
Gunning is a four year member and two year team captain at Liberty High School. As a senior, Gunning racked up a 40-5 record while leading the team in pins (most in school history) and takedowns. Was a two-time Pennsylvania state qualifier including a third place finish as a senior. He was named Fargo All-American along with NHSCA Senior All-American and a Super 32 place winner as a senior. He also was the district and regional champion as a senior.

Osborn on Gunning: "Jake is a guy we believe has a ton of upside as he began wrestling during his freshman year of high school. He has had success in Pennsylvania, which is arguably the best high school wrestling state in the country and on the national level. Jake is a guy that loves the sport and we think he has unlimited potential."

Kromer, Photo by BV

Trevor Hoffmier – Newark Valley, NY - Newark Valley HS - Projected Weight: 157
Hoffmier, teammate of fellow signee Derek Holcomb, comes to UB from Newark Valley High School where he was a six year member and three year team captain. As a senior, he compiled a 39-7 record while collecting a league championship, a Section 4 title and culminated in a fourth place finish at the New York State D1 tournament. Over his career, he racked up three league titles. Hoffmier set the school record for wins in a career (187), pins in a career (102), Section 4 titles (3), sectional place finishes (6) and league titles (3).

Osborn on Hoffmier: "Trevor is another guy that has strong academics on top of a great high school wrestling career. He has done a lot of wrestling in the offseason and he caught our eye last year while competing in Junior Freestyle Nationals for Team New York. He is a guy that could be in the mix right away for us."

Derek Holcomb – Newark Valley, NY - Newark Valley HS - Projected Weight: 165/174
Holcomb was a six year member and two year team member of the wrestling team at Newark Valley Senior High School. He was named All-American twice over his illustrious career. As a senior, he compiled a 43-3 record, setting the school record for wins in a season. He was a two time state qualifier while earning a fourth place finish at the New York State D1 tournament as a senior. Finished off his career with two Section 4 championships. He became the first freshman in Section 4 history to qualify for the sectional finals.

Osborn on Holcomb: "Derek is from the same high school as Trevor Hoffmeir and they both have a lot of similarities. Derek is a great student who has also had a lot of success at the state level and the national level. Derek has a bright future with UB Wrestling."

Ian James – Rochester, NY – Greece Olympia - Projected Weight: 285
James is a four year member and two year team captain at Greece Olympia high school. James is a two-time New York State D1 State tournament finalist. As a senior, James compiled a 43-3 record that included 16 fall victories and claimed a fourth place at the NYS D1 tournament. His biggest win in the off-season came against nationally ranked Connor Calkins in the Section 5 vs Finger Lakes Wrestling Club All-Star Dual as James won by fall. James was named All-League twice and won the Section V title on two occasions.

Osborn on James: "Ian is another guy from the Rochester area and we are very excited to add him to our future lineup. Ian has had a lot of success at the high school level and we think he has the potential to do big things here at UB. He's a good athlete with the size and style that should thrive in the UB System."

Ryan Kromer – Youngstown, NY – Lewiston Porter HS - Projected Weight: 165
Kromer is a five year member and two year team captain at Lewiston Porter High School. Kromer is a three-time New York State D2 place winner. As a senior, he set the school record for wins in a season with 51 as he went 51-3 on the season. He was Section 6 champion as a senior and he collected All-League honors four times. He was also named Niagara Gazette Wrestler of the Year as a senior.

Osborn on Kromer: "Ryan is from another great High school program from right up the road. He has made some weight jumps but still maintained a high level of success. He's also gotten a lot of wins at the national level and is a good student. We believe Ryan has the necessary tools to be a great college wrestler."

Skylar Kropman – Penfield, NY - Penfield HS - Projected Weight: 149
Kropman was a four year member and one year team captain at Penfield High School. As a senior he was injured so he did not participate. As a junior, he broke the school record for takedowns (182). He won a section championship as a junior and he placed at the Eastern States Tournament.

Osborn on Kropman: "Skylar was injured this season and had to have surgery, if not, we believe that he would have been in the mix at the New York State Tournament. He's had some good offseason wins and is another good student. We think he is going to be highly motivated to prove himself and show that he has the ability to do it at the next level."

Lantry, Photo by BV

Bryan Lantry – Walworth, NY - Wayne HS - Projected Weight: 125
Lantry was a four year team member and three year captain at Walworth High School. He is the 2014 New York State D1 Champion and has placed at the state tournament three times. He was also an Eastern States place winner as a senior. As a junior, he earned All-American honors and has been named All-Greater Rochester on three occasions.

Osborn on Lantry: "Bryan is a good athlete that came to the sport from a gymnastics background. He was a great pickup for us as he has performed very well at the state level including winning the state title this past season. He is a guy that we are excited about and we believe he has a very bright future for the Bulls."

Brandon Lapi – Amsterdam, NY - Amsterdam HS - Projected Weight: 141
Lapi earned six letters including two as a team captain at Amsterdam High School. As a senior, he compiled a record of 49-1 and went on to win a state championship. He set the school and Section 2 record for wins in a career. The five-time Section 2 champion also recorded four straight place finishes at the state tournament.

Osborn on Lapi: "Brandon has had a ton of success having placed five times in New York D1 state tournament and winning a state title this season. He has trained at The Journeymen Wrestling Club, which should contribute to his success at the next level. He is a great competitor that knows how to win, especially when the pressure is on."

Sean Peacock – Clifton Springs, NY – Midlakes HS - Projected Weight: 133
Peacock is a three-sport varsity athlete from Midlakes, NY, wrestling, lacrosse and cross country. He has recorded four top three performances at the New York State Wrestling Tournament D2, third place as a freshman, winning the state title as a sophomore and second place as a junior and senior. Peacock has earned four straight sectional titles at 132 pounds. He was also named a NHSCA Nationals All-American. As a senior, he accumulated a record of 48-2 and won by pin 38 times while earning the Daily Messengers Wrestler of the Year award for the third straight season. 

Osborn on Peacock: "Sean has had a ton of success in his high school career being a three-time state finalist. He's also had some success on the national level, which bodes well for his future. He's really good on top and has the tools to develop into a great college wrestler."

Brett Perry – John Jay EF HS - Projected Weight: 184
Perry was a four year member and two year team captain at John Jay EF High School. Perry is a two-time New York State D1 tournament placer and one-time finalist. As a senior, he compiled a record of 46-2 and won the league and sectional championships for the second straight season.

Osborn on Perry: "Brett has great academics and has improved a lot over his high school career. He is a two-time state placer in New York State D1 taking as he took second place this year. We are very excited to add someone of Brett's caliber to our recruiting class so late. We feel that Brett's best days are ahead of him at UB."

Blake Retell – Albany, NY - Shaker HS - Projected Weight: 133
Retell is a four-time Section 2 champion while also qualifying for the New York State D1 tournament on four occasions. He leaves Shaker High School as the career wins leader with 278. As a senior, he recorded 40 wins including 32 victories by pin.

Osborn on Retell: " Blake has trained at the renowned Journeymen Wrestling Club and he's had a lot of High School victories. He's going to be a hard worker and push everyone else in our room to compete with him."

Rocco Russo – Frontier, NY – Frontier HS - Projected Weight: 141/149
Russo was a six year member and three year team captain of the wrestling team at Frontier High School. As a senior, he compiled a 52-4 record while winning the sectional title and finishing in fourth place at the D1 New York State tournament. He set the school records for wins in a season and a career as a senior. He wrapped up his career as a four time Section 6 champion and a two time D1 NYS place finisher.

Osborn on Russo: "Rocco is a local kid that has trained at the Buffalo Wrestling Club. He's had success on the state level and has a lot of career wins. He has excellent grades and make-up and we are thrilled he chose to come to UB."

Smith, Photo by BV

Daniel Smith – Adams, NY - South Jefferson HS - Projected Weight: 184
Smith comes to Buffalo after a successful career at South Jefferson High School. Smith recorded a second place finish at the New York State D2 tournament as a senior and also took home second place at the Eastern States tournament. Smith's brother Darrick also wrestled for John Stutzman at Bloomsburg.

Osborn on Smith: "Daniel is a guy that has really made some big gains throughout his high school career as this season he ended as a state finalist. Daniel is a hard worker who we expect will continue to develop into a great college wrestler."

Alex Smythe – Eden, NY – Eden HS - Projected Weight: 157
Smythe is a six year member and two year team captain of the wrestling team at Eden High School. As a senior, he compiled a 44-2 record while collecting a class championship, a section championship and placing at the state tournament. For his career, Smythe racked up two top-three finishes at the NYS tournament, two class championships and two sectional championships. He leaves Eden with the school record for wins with 227.

Osborn on Smythe: "Alex is another local product who trains at the Buffalo Wrestling Club. He is a multiple time state place winner and another guy who really caught our eye competing at Junior Freestyle Nationals last summer. Alex has a good style for the UB System and we think he will have a lot of success at the next level."

Jake Weber – Clarence, NY - Clarence HS - Projected Weight: 174
Weber is a three year team captain at Clarence High School.  This past season he earned a fourth place finish in the D1New York State tournament. He was named All-American on two occasions. As a senior, he compiled a record of 48-3, setting the school record for wins in a season. Over his career, Weber won three class championships, two county championships, two sectional championships, and qualified for the D1 NYS twice. He also holds the school records for career wins (182), pins in a career (100) and pins in a season (34).

Osborn on Weber: "Jake is from a strong high school program that is on the outskirts of Buffalo and he has trained at the Buffalo Wrestling Club. Jake has a great style for the next level and he is a guy that we expect will build on what he achieved in high school. In addition to his wrestling success he's another good student."

Stutzman believes that with the core that is in place and the addition of these 19 guys, the Bulls will be in title contention for years to come.

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