May 31, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan wrestling program has landed a top-10 recruiting class, according to several national wrestling outlets. Head coach Joe McFarland's six-man class, which combined for 17 state titles over their high school careers, is ranked fifth by The Open Mat, seventh by InterMat and eighth by W.I.N. Magazine.
The Wolverines' 2012-13 freshman class will include Rossi Bruno (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS), Angelo Latora (Portage, Mich./Central HS), Cory Lester (St. Louis, Mo./John Burroughs HS), Taylor Massa (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns HS), Jordan Thomas (Greenville, Mich./Greenville HS) and Conor Youtsey (Mason, Mich./Mason HS).
"We are very excited about having these six guys join our program," said McFarland. "We have a well-balanced class as far as filling some of our weight needs, and I really like the attitude, work ethic and approach that each of these guys brings. They are all well-rounded wrestlers, good in both folkstyle and freestyle. They really like to compete in the offseason, which is very important, and they've had some success nationally. They're all just a great fit for Michigan. They are serious student-athletes, who are committed to working hard on the mat and working hard in the classroom. Over the years, those are the kind of guys that have found a lot of success in our program."
Listed as the nation's No. 3-ranked 126-pound wrestler and No. 13 overall recruit, Bruno was the first-ever five-time state champion in Florida wrestling history. He posted a perfect 43-0 record as an eighth grader (2008) and similarly went undefeated as a sophomore (61-0) and a senior (61-0) to finish his prep career with a sterling 289-3 record. Named the Southeast region recipient of the prestigious Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, Bruno has also excelled in the international styles, most recently capturing the 125-pound Greco-Roman title at the 2011 Junior Nationals while taking third in the freestyle competition. He is projected to wrestle at 133 pounds at Michigan.
"Rossi has a lot of experience and success at the national level," said McFarland, "but I really think his folkstyle wrestling is as good if not better than his freestyle and Greco. He's good in all three positions. He rides really tough on top, which is a great neutralizer in college, and he's good on his feet and on bottom. With him, we're getting a solid, all-around wrestler, who is only going to improve. He's also a good student-athlete. His academics are important to him as is his wrestling, so I think he's going to excel in both areas."
Latora, a four-year starter at Portage Central High School, claimed the 140-pound Michigan state title as a senior (2012) and is a four-time all-state honoree, placing third as a junior, fourth as a sophomore and seventh as a freshman. He went 200-22 in his career, including a near-perfect 53-1 senior season, and was a two-time silver medalist at the Disney Duals (2010, '11). Latora's father, Tony, was a four-year Michigan wrestling letterwinner (1984-87). He is expected to compete at 149 pounds for the Wolverines.
"I wrestled with Angelo's dad here," said McFarland, "so I've had a long connection with him. While he hasn't done a lot of freestyle, he's done a lot of offseason wrestling, and I think bringing into this training environment with these partners will bring him to a whole new level. I like a lot of things about him, and he's solid and consistent in all areas; his top wrestling is great. Angelo is a pretty serious and tough kid. He comes in with great work ethic and athleticism, and I think that's going to translate pretty well for him into his college years."
A four-time Missouri state placewinner at John Burroughs, Lester captured the 112-pound title as a sophomore (2010) before claiming runner-up honors as a junior and senior. He accumulated a 196-9 record in his prep career, including a 54-3 mark as a senior. His father, Kenny, wrestled at Michigan (1983-85). Lester will wrestle at 125 pounds.
"I wrestled with Cory's dad too," said McFarland, "so I've known him for quite a long time. Cory is a solid student and a serious kid with a great work ethic. I think Cory is going to thrive in this type of tough competitive training environment. His wrestling means a lot to him, and he's certainly not afraid of hard work. So, I'm really looking forward to seeing what the future brings for him here."
The national winner of the 2012 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, Massa spent the bulk of his prep career listed as the nation's No. 1 wrestler in his class and holds the top ranking at 170 pounds. He is a four-time undefeated Michigan state champion (2009, '10, '11, '12), boasting a flawless 223-0 record in his career. Massa is a two-time FILA Junior National Champion and a member of the 2011 FILA Junior Freestyle World Team. He claimed four Cadet national titles -- two in freestyle and two in Greco-Roman -- and was a two-time Asics High School Team All-American. Massa is projected to wrestle at 165 pounds in college.
"Most wrestling fans are familiar with Taylor," said McFarland. "He has long been considered among the top high school wrestlers in the country. He's a phenomenal talent and a special kid. He has competed at a high level for a long time, but he's put in the work to stay ahead of the pack. He's done the things necessary to remain at that elite level. He's put in the training and competed at the top-level tournaments and against the top wrestlers. He hasn't shied away from anything. He's continued to develop, and he will continue to do so in college. I think he's going to be a great wrestler for us."
Listed as the nation's No. 6-ranked 182-pound wrestler and the No. 28 overall recruit, Thomas wrapped up his high school career with three consecutive Michigan state titles, winning at 189 pounds (2012), 171 pounds (2011) and 160 pounds (2010), after taking runner-up honors as a freshman (2009) . He registered a 219-3 record over his four seasons, including a perfect 109-0 mark in his final two years. A 170-pound Senior High School National finalist, Thomas is a four-time Fargo Freestyle All-American and took sixth place at the 2011 FILA Junior Nationals. He will wrestle at 174 or 184 pounds for Michigan.
"Jordan was our first commit out of this group," said McFarland. "He's a huge Michigan fan and always dreamed of coming here. He'll be a wonderful fit -- great in the classroom and great on the wrestling mat. He's got a good work ethic, and as he continues to develop and mature, he'll be a great upperweight for us. He's got good movement and positioning; he hand fights well and wrestles hard. Those attributes can take you a long way in college wrestling."
Youtsey, a 2011 graduate of Mason High School, captured three Michigan state titles at 119 pounds (2009, '10, '11) after claiming third at 112 as a freshman (2008). He posted an impressive 203-2 record over his four-year prep career, including undefeated junior and senior seasons. The Michigan recipient of the 2011 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, Youtsey was a two-time FloNationals finalists and the No. 4-ranked 119-pound wrestler following his senior season. In freestyle competition, he recently claimed second place (121.25 pounds) at the FILA Junior Nationals. Youtsey will compete at 125 pounds in college.
"Conor comes to us from the West Point prep school," said McFarland, "and I think he's really excited to be back here in his home state. Conor is a mat rat and just a phenomenal worker. He has a great attitude, and he's pretty even keeled and consistent. He fits in great with the rest of the class. He'll just continue to develop and get better and stronger."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423