Penn State wrestling might be off this week, but is still seeing plenty of action as the No. 1-ranked Nittany Lions got a verbal commitment from one of the nation’s top-ranked recruits in Robert Howard on Wednesday.
The Bergen Catholic junior is No. 5 in FloWrestling’s pound-for-pound rankings, and No. 1 at 126 pounds. He’s projected to wrestle at 133 pounds in college.
“Penn State is the best place to help me reach my full potential,” Howard said in a text message to the Centre Daily Times. “The coaches are fantastic. The culture they’ve built is perfect for me. I’m excited to come in, work hard, have fun and win matches. We Are!”
He posted a photo on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon of him wearing a blue-and-white singlet with images of the Penn State wrestling room and a full area in the background, saying simply: “N I T T A N Y L I O N #WeAre,” with a lion emoji.
The Nittany Lions will be getting a quality wrestler, as the list of accolades for Howard is already long. The reigning 120-pound New Jersey state champ and two-time finalist won a gold medal this fall at the Youth Olympics in Bueonos Aires, Argentina, and was a two-time Cadet World Team member.
Howard was one of the hottest prospects this fall, making official visits to Michigan, Iowa and Penn State, were he was seen on the sidelines at the football game against Wisconsin with coach Cael Sanderson on Nov. 10, and in the stands at the Kent State dual the next day.
A tweet he sent after his visit to Iowa gained a lot of laughs when he said: “If Penn State and Iowa fans don’t stop arguing on my Twitter, I’m going to Rutgers.”
The addition of Howard could help bring stability to the lower weights in Penn State’s lineup. Howard told FloWrestling.org that his ideal plan would be to redshirt his freshman year, then takeover at 133 pounds when Roman Bravo-Young is a senior, allowing him to bump up to 141 after Nick Lee graduates.