Virginia Wrestling picked up a huge recruit out of Virginia Beach, VA this week, as Bryan Whitt, a four-time private school state champion, made a verbal commitment to Virginia. Whitt is considered one of the top wrestlers in the country, having gone 48-1 last Winter (his only loss coming in the National Prep Championships' 112-pound final).
Whitt, ranked No. 6 nationally among 119-pound seniors and No. 1 among all 119s in the Southeastern states by Flowrestling, has been competing since the eighth grade, and is looking forward to winning his first public school state title. If he does, he'll be the first five-time Virginia state champion. He still needs to gain at least 6 pounds, as 125 is the lowest weight class for college wrestling.
But it's not just UVA who wins from Whitt's commitment. Whitt understands all the benefits of coming to Virginia.
"I really didn’t want to be too far from home, so I was looking mostly at in-state colleges," said Whitt, who also considered George Mason and Virginia Tech. "U.Va. seemed like a good choice. My sister and dad went there, they’ve got good academics and I really liked the coaches."
Let's not also forget that Virginia is a program on the rise, pre-season ranked No. 20 in many of the polls, the highest Virginia's ever been ranked, and the third straight season the Cavaliers have cracked the Top 25. Last year, UVA finished 2nd in the ACC tournament and sent seven wrestlers to the NCAA tournament.
Five Virginia wrestlers are listed in the individual rankings, highlighted by Chris Henrich, who is No. 2 in the 174-pound class. Henrich earned All-America honors last season and went 40-3. Brent Jones is ranked ninth at 197 pounds, while Nick Nelson is 10th at 141 pounds. Ross Gitomer, returning from an injury last season, starts the season ranked No. 17 at 125 pounds, while Matt Bonson is 21st at 133 pounds.
The Cavaliers open the 2009-10 campaign on Nov. 7 when they play host to Anderson and Campbell in a double dual at Memorial Gymnasium.
For those enquiring minds, here is a video of his performance at the February 20, 2009 Prep School Nationals Semifinals.