Malvern Prep’s Michael Beard — one of the nation’s top wrestling prospects — committed less than two weeks ago to reinforce the status of Penn State’s recruiting class as the nation’s best.
Beard is ranked as the fifth-best pound-for-pound wrestler in the country, according to FloWrestling, which means PSU now has the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth overall wrestlers set to join the program. None of the commitments are final until the athletes sign their National Letters of Intent, which can be as early as November.
Beard recently discussed his commitment to the Nittany Lions, his life outside the sport and more.
Q: Let’s start off with the big question: Why did you choose Penn State?
A: I chose Penn State because it is the best fit both academically and athletically. I mean, the wrestling team is just really good. The coaches and the rest of the team I just fit best with. I went down to a practice, and I enjoyed myself. I had a lot of fun. I just want to be there for the next five years.
Q: What made you decide to decommit from Northwestern?
A: I think I just rushed my decision a little because I think I’m young still. I was really impressed with the school and going down there. Then I realized, I needed more of the wrestling-type thing. I just decommitted and visited some schools. Then, I figured out that Penn State was the right choice for me.
Q: What are you most looking forward to when you come to Penn State?
A: I’m looking forward to just getting better. The partners I have are insane so just getting better and not focusing on wins and losses. I think the coaches and the teammates I have, everything will just fall into place.
Q: For people that don’t know Mike Beard, what’s an interesting thing about you?
A: I’d say I’m unique. I’m funny. I don’t really take myself too seriously. I like to have fun more than anything.
Q: If you had to have your dream wrestling match, who would it be against and why?
A: Coach Cael (Sanderson), because I can learn from him. He likes to have fun too. He likes to be offensive, and that’s kind of my style. I think it would be fun.
Q: You keep saying the word fun. Every single time I hear from Penn State wrestlers it is the word “fun.” Is that what you feel makes you fit in the most with those guys?
A: Yeah, I think there is no really other way of wrestling if you’re not having fun with the sport. If you are just miserable all the time and just focused on winning, I think you will just get tired of it.
Q: What is your favorite sport outside of wrestling, and why?
A: I mean, if you say weightlifting is a sport, then I like to lift a lot. I like to swim in the summer. My brother swims at Penn State now. He is a freshman, so I grew up swimming.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do outside of sports?
A: I like to fish and hang out with my friends, just the normal teenager type things.
Q: What is Michael Beard’s goal five years down the road after he graduates from Penn State?
A: I want to win some world titles and compete on Olympic teams. Also, I want to have a good job coming out.