Air Force wrestling has announced 18 newcomers to the 2017-18 roster. The class of 2021 boasts 49 state medals and eight state champions with 17 state championship titles. The wrestling recruits make up the program's second-consecutive top-20 recruiting class according to W.I.N Magazine's early-season recruiting rankings. The feat marks the first time in program history the Falcons have had back-to-back top-20 recruiting rankings. Four of the recruits were nationally ranked in W.I.N.'s national high schools polls.
"Chris Heilman, our recruiting coordinator, has done an amazing job in bringing this recruiting class together," said head coach Sam Barber. "We're trying to build this program and stay competitive in the Big 12 Conference and it makes it a lot easier when you have the right athletes."
The credentials for the class of 2021 are listed below.
Justin Becci, 133, Brentwood, TN (Brentwood Academy/USAFA Prep)
Becci is a four-time Tennessee state place winner. He reached the round of 12 of the Junior National Greco-Roman Championships as a junior. He attended the Air Force Academy Prep School where he wrestled for coach Tim Alger.
Trace Carello, 165, Aurora, IL (Marmion Academy/USAFA Prep)
Carello was the No. 100 overall recruit according to Intermat's Top-100 recruits list. He is a three-time Illinois state place winner and competed in the state-finals his senior year. Carello placed fourth at the Iron Man Tournament, second at the Cheesehead Tournament and was a Cadet Freestyle national finalist. During his time at the Air Force Academy Prep School he earned All-America honors at the NCWA Championships.
Tony DeCesare, 125, Northfield, OH (Padua Franciscan/USAFA Prep)
DeCesare was a Top-150 overall recruit by AssociatedWrestlingPress.com. He is a four-time Ohio state place winner and two-time state-finalist. DeCesare placed sixth at the Ironman Tournament and was the 2014 Journeyman Classic champion. He also won a NCWA national championship while attending the USAFA Prep School.
Joe Hensley, 285, Cincinnati, OH (Moeller/USAFA Prep)
Hensley is a two-time Ohio state qualifier and placed twice at the highly competitive Powerade Tournament. He also earned All-America honors as a freshman at the NHSCA Championships. He attended the USAFA Prep School where he competed for coach Tim Alger.
Brock Jennings, 165/174, Osage, IA (Osage)
Jennings won the 2017 Iowa state championship, making him a four-time state championship place winner. Brock earned All-America honors at the USA Wrestling Folk Style National as a senior. He was selected to compete in the "War at West Gym" All-Star Dual.
Tanner Johnson, 165/174, Tuttle, OK (Tuttle)
Johnson led his team to multiple Oklahoma state championship titles where he was a three-time state finalist and two-time state champion. He was a finalist at the highly competitive Geary Tournament and a two-time place winner at the Kansas City Stampede.
Casey Jumps, 197/285, Platte City, MO (Platte County)
Jumps is a 2017 Missouri state champion along with another place-winning finish. He is a two-time Cheesehead place winner and two-time Kansas City Stampede place winner. The Platte City, Missouri, native won Freestyle and Greco-Roman championships at the Western Junior Regional his senior year. Jumps earned All-America honors at the USA Wrestling Folkstyle national tournament.
Mario Kastl, 141, St. Paris, OH (Graham/USAFA Prep)
Kastl helped his team earn four Ohio state team championship titles while at St. Paris. He placed third at the Ohio state championships and was an NHSCA All-American. He wrestled for coach Tim Alger at the USAFA Prep School.
Lenny Petersen, 141, Village of Lakewood, IL (Crystal Lake Central)
Petersen earned two Illinois state championship titles and was a three-time state place winner. He is also a Journeyman Elite place winner and a 2016 Dvorak finalist. Prior to his senior season he placed first at the Conflict at Carver tournament.
Parker Simington, 157, Loveland, CO (Thompson Valley/USAFA Prep)
Simington is a four-time Colorado state place winner and three-time state champion. He is a two-time USA Wrestling post-season national champion. Simington earned Outstanding Wrestler honors at the Midwest Classic and was also an NHSCA senior national finalist. He was an NCWA national champion while wrestling for coach Tim Alger at the USAFA Prep School.
Cody Surratt, 174/184, Wadsworth, OH (Wadsworth)
Surratt placed twice at the Ohio state tournament. During his senior year he knocked off one of the top wrestlers in the country who was competing for his fourth state championship title. Surratt also won the competitive Medina Tournament.
Tommy Stager, 149, Longmont, CO (Niwot)
Stager is the 2017 Colorado state champion and was a four-time place winner. He was dubbed the Max Preps High School Athlete of the Year as a senior at Niwot. He owns the Colorado state record for 4A career-wins. He was also honored as the BOCO Preps Wrestler of the Year.
Zachary Van Alst, 141, Prattville, AL (Montgomery Catholic)
Van Alst was ranked as high as No. 12 by W.I.N. Magazine as a senior. He is a six-time Alabama state champion, making him the third wrestler in Alabama high school wrestling history to accomplish such a feat. Van Alst is also a 2015 and 2016 Junior National Greco-Roman All-American and 2016 Southeast Regional Freestyle and Greco-Roman champion. Named AL.com Wrestler of the Year his senior year.
Jacoby Ward, 157/165, Cincinnati, OH (Moeller/USAFA Prep)
Ward is a four-time Ohio state place winner and NCWA national champion while wrestling at the USAFA Prep School. He placed fourth at the IndianaMat preseason open.
Jimmy Weaver, 184, Colorado Springs, CO (Coronado)
Weaver is a two-time Colorado state place winner and 2017 state champion.
The Falcons will also be welcoming three preferred walk-ons in Cole Phelps of Anchorage, Alaska, (Service High School), Terrence Perkins of Prattville, Alabama, (Prattville) and Adama Mbaye of Stillwater, Oklahoma (Stillwater). All three walk-on wrestlers wrestled for coach Tim Alger at the USAFA Prep School.
"Not only will these guys have a tremendous impact on the mat," Barber continued, "but better than that, they are the right kind of guys for the institution and will have a greater impact as future Air Force officers and leaders of character."
Members from the class of 2021 will take the mats for the first time as Falcons at the Cowboy Open, Nov. 4, in Laramie, WY.