Nov. 19, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou wrestling program announced Tuesday morning that four future student-athletes have signed their letters of intent to wrestle for the program. The four athletes joining the Tigers program for the 2014-15 season are Sam Crane (Columbia, Mo.), John Erneste (Kansas City, Mo.), Daniel Lewis (Blue Springs, Mo.) and Jacob Semple (Waynesville, Mo). The four athletes bring with them many high school accolades, including four state championships.
After bringing in the nation's No. 2-ranked class this year, the Tigers add four more to compliment a young squad. Head Coach Brian Smith and his staff have brought in guys that look to blend well with the 'Tiger Style' culture that the program has grown accustom to.
"We look for kids and how they are academically. We want to make sure that they care about their academics and they want to be here to get their degree," said Smith of the program's recruiting process. "I don't want a kid who just wants to wrestle, but has aspirations do something after wrestling. And we also look for kids who want to compete at the highest level, that want to train and strive to be All-Americans and national champions. Really those are the two things; having aspirations after the sport of wrestling and in the sport at the collegiate level. We want men that want to stay and believe in what we are doing in the program with 'Tiger Style', the program's philosophy which we preach and teach them throughout the whole recruiting process."
Let's take a look at the future Tigers.
SAM CRANE- Columbia, Mo.
Overall Record: 141-7
High School Coach: Travis Craig
Missouri state champion at 138 pounds...three-time state finalist...Fourth place at preseason nationals...Sixth place at Cadet Freestyle Tournament...Ranked No. 14 in the country by Flowrestling...No. 84 overall recruit in the country
Smith's Take: "I've known Sam since he was a little kid. He's kind of grown up with the program, and he's always wanted to be at Mizzou. His brother Taylor wrestled here at Mizzou and now is the assistant at Rock Bridge. He's a top-100 recruit, and he brings a physicality to the room that really gets after it. He loves the sport and even though he is already a top-100 recruit, he sees himself as something higher than that. And he has great leadership skills already that will translate well into our room. He is a leader at Rock Bridge, and that is an important quality that I look for in wrestlers."
JOHN ERNESTE- Kansas City, Mo.
Overall Record: 128-22
High School Coach: Bill Erneste
Noteworthy Accolades: 2010 third place in the state of Missouri at 103 pounds...State runner-up in 2012 at 113 pounds...2013 third place finish at 120 pounds...Three-time District Champ...3-time 1st team all-conference...Cadet Folkstyle All-American at 105 pounds...Member of the Missouri Cadet National Dual Team...Member of the Missouri Junior National Dual Team...3-time academic All-State...Member of the National Honor Society
Smith's Take: "John comes from Park Hill, which has produced Alan Waters and junior-captain Johnny Eblen the past couple of years. He might be one of the brightest kids that we are bringing in, with both of his parents working in the Math department at Park Hill. His dad, Bill, is his high school coach and has turned Park Hill into a wrestling powerhouse in the state of Missouri. Academics and athletics are what we look for in our student-athletes, and John is a student on the mat and off the mat, so he'll contribute to our program in a lot of different areas."
DANIEL LEWIS- Blue Springs, Mo.
Overall Record: 136-4
High School Coach: Mike Hagerty
Three-time Missouri State champion at 103 pounds, 126 pounds and 138 pounds...Three-time Missouri national team member...Three-time Missouri District champion...Two-time KC Stampede Champion...Third place finish and Fargo All-American at 145 pounds...Ranked No. 7 in the country at 138 pounds by Flowrestling
Smith's Take: "Daniel is one of the top kids in the state and also in the country. I think he is ranked 33rd overall by one of the rankings. He has placed in every national tournament and is going for his fourth state championship in high school, and I truly believe he hasn't even reached his potential. He is coached at Blue Springs by Coach (Mike) Hagerty, who is one of the best coaches in the state who also coached former two-time All-American Dom Bradley. Daniel's upside is amazing because he is a very smart kid. He's a really good mat wrestler, a "pinner", which we like here at Mizzou."
JACOB SEMPLE - Waynesville, Mo.
Overall Record: 99-19
High School Coach: Jeff Davis
Two-time USA Wrestling Junior All-American in Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling...Runner- up in 2013 Missouri Greco-Roman state tournament...Took first in Lydia's Lights tournament in Kansas City...Also was champion at 2013 St. Charles West Invitational...Ranked 1st among heavyweights in Missouri and 15th in USA Magazine...
Smith's Take: "He has been successful at the high school level, and in Cadets and Juniors national levels in freestyle and Greco. He's been to our 10-day intensive summer camp, which tells me he likes to work and is commited to the Tiger Style way. He is a three-sport athlete in high school, so we are getting a quality heavyweight who has a great work ethic.