Illinois Wrestling Adds Three Top Recruits

By Jim Christman | Nov. 14, 2000, 12 a.m. (ET)
CHAMPAIGN, ILL. University of Illinois head wrestling coach Mark Johnson announced today the signing of three top national recruits. Kyle Ott (Huber Height, Ohio; Wayne High School), Alex Tirapelle (Clovis, Calif.; Clovis High School) and Cal Ferry (Machesney Park, Ill.; Harlem High School) have signed national letters of intent and will join Johnson's fifth-ranked Fighting Illini in the fall of 2001. All three wrestlers have impressive credentials and could add more hardware to their collection before stepping on the Illinois campus. The group has won seven state titles between the three of them and have over 300 career victories, and each has one season of prep competition remaining. Ott will be seeking his third consecutive Ohio state championship winning titles as a sophomore and junior while placing third as a freshman. He has only lost one match in his high school career, in the seminfinals of the state meet his freshman year, and has a career mark of 109-1. Ott is currently ranked as the top senior in the country at 119 pounds and will compete at 125 pounds in college. Academically, Ott maintains a 4.2 grade point average on a weighted 4.0 scale. Tirapelle, a household name to Illinois wrestling fans, is the brother of Illini senior and two-time All-American Adam who is currently ranked No. 1 in the country at 149 pounds. Alex will be vying for his third California state title this season and is ranked as the top senior in the nation at 145 pounds this season. He is also tops in his class academically carrying a perfect 4.0 GPA and is ranked No. 1 in his class. Ferry enters his senior season with a 92-match win streak and has accumulated a career record of 120-5, with each of those losses coming as a freshman. He has won three straight Illinois state titles and will aim to become only the seventh four-time IHSA state champion. "Each year, as a team, we talk about taking this program to the next level and this is another step," Johnson said. "Every year it seems we feel we've added our best recruiting class and this is certainly no exception. These three young men have excellent credentials and have the type of talent that can help us contend for a national championship."