PISCATAWAY, NJ - The Rutgers University wrestling program has received commitments from 12 student-athletes as members of the class of 2010, head coach John Sacchi announced Tuesday. The class, which includes 10 New Jersey natives, features nine state place-winners, five nationally ranked wrestlers, three high school All-Americans and two state champions.
Nationally ranked wrestlers Keith Dobish (Lodi, NJ), DJ Russo (Netcong, NJ), Ryan Fikslin (Roxbury, NJ), Spencer Kent (Paramus, NJ) and Ryan Fullam (Emerson, NJ) headline the group set to continue their education at the State University of New Jersey in the fall of 2006. Joining Sacchi’s signees whom earned national rankings are two state place-winners out of New Jersey in Chris Norrell (Phillipsburg, NJ) and McPaul Ogbonna (Hanover, NJ). Rounding out the New Jersey contingent are state qualifiers Ryan Rotelli (Lodi, NJ), Edwin Acevedo (Passaic, NJ) and Lee Tisler (Branchville, NJ).
In addition to a cast of New Jersey standouts, the Scarlet Knights have successfully added a national preparatory school All-American in Reginald Parker (Upper Marlboro, MD) and a two-time North Carolina state third-place finisher in Danny Pedone (Charlotte, NC).
Sacchi explained his excitement and anticipation for the arrival of the 12 signees.
“Assistant coach Joe Ryan deserves a tremendous amount of credit for this class and for keeping some of New Jersey’s best talent home,” Sacchi said. “Our expectations for the future are very high and we are very excited. We feel this recruiting class will rank near the top of the EIWA Conference and could well be ranked in the top-20 nationally.”
Projected at 184 pounds, Dobish garnered 128 wins during his career at Lodi High School and was ranked fourth nationally by Wrestling USA and fifth by Intermat. Dobish, a two-time state place-winner and the 2006 state champion, wrestled for Team USA in the Dapper Dan Classic and also competed in the Dream Team Classic.
Russo comes to Rutgers by way of Lenape Valley High School and projects to wrestle as a heavyweight “On the Banks.” Russo was a high school National Champion and finished second in the New Jersey State Tournament. Nationally, he was ranked first by the National High School Coaches Association, third by Wrestling USA and fifth by Intermat.
Fikslin completed his junior season of 2005 as a New Jersey State Champion. He began his senior season ranked second nationally by Wrestling USA; however, was unable to defend his state championship due a battle with mononucleosis. The incoming freshman projects to compete at the 125-pound weight class.
Kent joins Sacchi’s program out of Bergen Catholic High School. Projected as a 157-pounder, Kent was a two-time New Jersey state place-winner, a member of Team New Jersey and was a county and regional champion.
Fullam joins a group of six fellow place-winners from the state of New Jersey. Set to compete at the 125-pound weight class at RU, Fullam earned All-America status after finishing sixth at the High School Nationals and was ranked 22nd by Wrestling USA.
Norrell is expected to wrestle at the 165-pound weight class at RU and his high school career at Phillipsburg High School was highlighted by a regional championship and a fifth-place showing in the New Jersey State Tournament.
Ogbonna comes to Rutgers from Hanover Park High School and he will likely compete as a 174-pounder. In 2005, Ogbonna was a New Jersey state place-winner, a regional champion and a county champion.
Rotelli was teammates with Dobish at Lodi High School and he is projected as a 149-pounder “On the Banks.” At Lodi, Rotelli was a New Jersey State Qualifier, a regional place-winner and a district champion.
Acevedo wrestled out of Passaic High School and he will likely become part of the 125/133-pound class at RU. In addition to being a New Jersey State Qualifier, Acevedo was a regional place-winner and a county runner-up
Tisler will wrestle out of the 165-pound class and as a member of the High Point Regional High School team, he was a regional place-winner.
Parker arrives at Rutgers after coming out of DeMatha High School in Maryland. Expected to compete at the 133/141-pound class, Parker finished fifth in the National Prep Championships in 2006 and was equally impressive in the Maryland Independent State Tournament, finishing third.
Pedone joins the Rutgers class of 2010 after collecting 133 career wins at South Mecklenburg High School in North Carolina. He placed third twice in the North Carolina State Tournament and earned two career victories at the High School National Championships.
Sacchi completed his 16th season as the leader of the Rutgers wrestling program and guided a youthful and exciting Scarlet Knight team to a seven-win season. Sacchi has consistently been able to get the most out of his wrestlers and with junior Steve Adamcsik's (Chester, NJ) trip to the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City, OK, Sacchi delivered a qualifier to the NCAAs for the fourth straight season, and during his 16 years, RU has sent competitors to the NCAA Championships in 12 of them.
Statistics For Class Of 2010 Recruits
-Nine State Place-winners (Seven New Jersey)
-Five Nationally Ranked Wrestlers
-Three High School All-Americans
-Two State Champions
-One High School National Champion
-One State Runner-Up
-One National Preparatory High School All-American