PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers wrestling head coach John Sacchi announced his 2005 recruiting class on Wednesday. New Jersey state place-winners Kellen Bradley (Newton, NJ), Lamar Brown (Red Bank, NJ), Mathew Pletcher (Eastampton, NJ) and Abdul El Kar H. Mahmoud (Wallington, NJ) highlight the 17-member class.
All four scholastic standouts signed National Letters of Intent and will enroll at Rutgers University in the fall and compete for the Scarlet Knights in the winter.
They join state qualifiers Raleki Adibe (South Orange, NJ), Jack Barrett (Metuchen, NJ), Mike Elshamy (Brick, NJ), Chris Jones (Piscataway, NJ), Zubin Karimattam (Flemington, NJ), Matt Rigoglioso (Wayne, NJ), Zack Russo (Cherry Hill, NJ), James Saxton (Cinnaminson, NJ), Joe Schmidt (Toms River, NJ), Chris McIntyre (Manchester, NJ) and Mike D’Amico (Kenilworth, NJ), who will also join the team in the fall.
Rounding out the class are Taylor Gillain (Hewitt, NJ) and Taurean Wilson (Burlington, NJ), who each finished fourth in their region and narrowly missed qualifying for the state championships.
“We filled some holes vacated as a result of graduation and added depth to all our weights with this class,” said Sacchi, who will begin his 16th season of coaching with Rutgers in the winter. “I am excited with the exceptional student-athletes we are bringing in. We are looking forward to getting this class on the mat and competing in the winter.”
Bradley had a stellar senior season at Kittatinny Regional High School, finishing one match short of All-America status at the high school nationals this past winter. He placed second in both his district and region, finishing seventh in the state at 130 pounds with more than 30 victories this past season. He was a Star Ledger First Team All-West Jersey selection at 130 pounds his senior season. Bradley is expected to compete for the Scarlet Knights at the 133-pound weight class.
Brown, who wrestled the past four seasons at Red Bank Regional High School, won both his district and regional title. He placed fourth in the New Jersey State Tournament at 189 pounds. Brown is expected to compete at either the 184 or 197-pound weight class at RU in the winter.
Pletcher, who wrestled at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, completed his senior season 30-1, placing third in the state at 145 pounds. He won his district and region title. Fletcher is expected to compete in either the 149 or 157-pound weight brackets for the Scarlet Knights.
Mahmoud placed sixth in the state last winter. He was second in the district and won his regional title as a senior with a 33-5 record in his final season. He is excepted to compete at 197 pounds for RU in the winter.
Adibe, who wrestled at Columbia High School, will compete at 285 pounds. Barrett, who will graduate from Metuchen High School, is expected to compete at 157 pounds. Elshamy, out of Brick Memorial High School, is expected to compete at 197 pounds.
Jones, from Piscataway High School, will wrestle at 184 pounds. Karimattam, from Hunterdon Central High School, is expected to compete at 165 pounds. Rigoglioso, who will graduate from Wayne Valley High School, is slated to wrestle at 165 pounds. Russo, who wrestled at Camden Catholic, will compete at 285 pounds. Saxton, out of Cinnaminson High School, will wrestle at 133 pounds. Schmidt and McIntyre are both from Manchester High School. Schmidt will compete at 125 pounds, while McIntyre will wrestle at 141 pounds.
Gillain, of West Milford High School, will compete at 197 pounds for Rutgers, while Wilson, of Burlington City High School, will wrestle at 174 pounds for RU.
Completing the class is D’Amico, who transferred from Fordham University. The 2004 Seton Hall Prep graduate will compete at 285 pounds for the Scarlet Knights in the winter.
Rutgers, which competed without many of its starters throughout the season as a result of injury, finished its 2004-05 season with a 6-8 dual record, finishing 2-5 in the competitive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association. Seniors Andy Roy (Wall, NJ) and Chris Ressa (Andover, NJ) represented the Scarlet Knights at the NCAA Championships at 174 and 184 pounds, respectively. Roy, ranked as high as fifth nationally during the season, fell one match short of All-America status.
Rutgers will open its 2005-06 season at the Oklahoma/Brockport Tournament on Nov. 12, beginning its dual schedule at nationally-ranked Lehigh, Nov. 26.