COLUMBIA, Mo. – In one of his most highly anticipated recruiting classes in recent history, Mizzou Wrestling head coach Brian Smith announced nine wrestlers who signed their national letters of intent Wednesday. Zach Elam (Kansas City, Mo.), Jack Flynn (O’Fallon, Mo.), Cameron Fusco (Imperial, Mo.), Jeremiah Kent (Columbia, Mo.), Jarrett Jacques (Columbia, Mo.), Malik Johnson (Florissant, Mo.), Brock Mauller (Columbia, Mo.), Peyton Mocco (West Allis, Wis.) and Cevion Severado (Saint Peters, Mo.) have all chosen to live #TigerStyle and continue their academic and athletic careers at the University of Missouri. The class includes five prospects ranked in the top-100 by either FloWrestling or Intermat, led Elam, who is ranked No. 2 at 220 pounds and No. 31 overall by FloWrestling.
“I’m proud of our staff for the time they put into recruiting these nine wrestlers,” said Smith. “It’s the most we’ve ever signed in the early signing period. Having nine young men, and eight of them from the state of Missouri shows that the state believes in Tiger Style and what the culture is, and that they want their young men to compete for and graduate from the University of Missouri. This class will carry on the legacy of what Mizzou Wrestling is and what Tiger Style is.”
Zach Elam // Staley High School // Kansas City, Mo. // Projected Weight Class: Heavyweight
A two-time Class 4 Missouri State Champion and three-time finalist, Elam chose to stay home and wrestle for Mizzou over offers from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Ranked a top-50 recruit by most major ranking publications, Elam is the next big-name heavyweight prospect to join Mizzou, following the likes of Mark Ellis, Dom Bradley and Austin Myers. Elam experienced much success on the national level this past summer, claiming a National Championship at 220 pounds in the 2017 Junior Freestyle Nationals.
“Tiger Style is what I’ve grown up knowing,” said Elam. “Now, I want to be a part of it.”
“We had a battle with some very good programs – wrestling and football programs – to get Zach and keep him home,” said Smith. “I’ve known Zach and his family forever, seeing him grow up and how he’s succeeded as an unbelievable two-sport athlete has been fun to watch. He’ll compete at heavyweight, and he’s one of the best kids in the country. His athleticism at that weight is exciting with his size, I think he’s 6’4, and with his reach – it’s going to be exciting watching him wrestle at heavyweight.”
Elam plans to major in Business Management at Mizzou.
Jack Flynn // Francis Howell High School // O’Fallon, Mo. // Projected Weight Class: 197 Pounds
The younger brother of current Mizzou wrestler, Connor, and former Mizzou soccer player, Lauren, Jack Flynn comes from a Mizzou family, making it only right for him to follow his siblings. Flynn posted his highest state finish at the 2017 Missouri State meet, finishing second following a fifth-place finish in 2015 and fourth-place finish in 2016. As a sophomore in 2016, Flynn claimed a national title at 170 pounds at the NHSCA National Wrestling Championships.
“I chose #TigerStyle because it’s where I’ve always wanted to be,” said Flynn.
“Jack has had a lot of success in the sport of wrestling,” said Smith. “But if you talk to people at his high school, they’d probably say he’s also one of the best football players for Francis Howell. In Jack, we get an awesome young man and a very talented upper weight wrestler. Jack will add to his family’s legacy being the third Flynn to compete at Mizzou. I can’t wait to get him in our room.”
Flynn plans to major in Business at Mizzou.
Cameron Fusco // Seckman High School // Imperial, Mo. // Projected Weight Class: 125/133 Pounds
A three-time Missouri State finalist, Fusco comes to Mizzou from a highly-respected Seckman High School wrestling program. Fusco has placed second at the Missouri State Tournament each of the last three seasons, and finished runner-up at 113 pounds at the 2016 NHSCA National Wrestling Championships.
“I chose Tiger Style because of the family atmosphere and the talented wrestlers in the program,” said Fusco.
“With Cameron, we’re getting another two-sport athlete, which I like,” said Smith “I think that if they are able to be successful in both sports at such a high level, these kids are really going to develop in our program where they’re focusing on wrestling year-round. Cameron is a three-time state finalist for a really good Seckman program, and he’ll be looking to get back on the award stand again this year. He’s a really talented wrestler, and a really good kid. We are looking forward to getting him on campus.”
Jeremiah Kent // Hickman High School // Columbia, Mo. // Projected Weight Class: 174/184 Pounds
Relatively new to wrestling, Kent will be able to focus solely on wrestling at Mizzou after succeeding at both wrestling and football at Hickman High School in Columbia. The hometown Tiger placed at last year’s Missouri State Tournament, then proceed to record All-America finishes in both freestyle (fifth) and Greco-Roman (seventh) at the 2017 Junior Freestyle Nationals. In the Intermat high school rankings, Kent ranks No. 9 at 170 pounds and No. 97 overall.
“I chose Tiger Style because of the family atmosphere that made me feel welcome since day one of the recruiting process,” said Kent. “The ability to compete for one of the best wrestling programs in the country, in my hometown in front of friends and family, is an experience I could not pass up.”
“Jeremiah didn’t start wrestling until the ninth grade, so he’s just starting to get into it,” said Smith. “But what he did on the national stage this spring was unbelievable. He’s so far away from his ceiling and yet he’s doing amazing things already. He’s in such a young stage in his development in the sport of wrestling that we can’t wait to see the strides he’ll make once he gets into our program.”
Jarrett Jacques // Father Tolton Catholic High School // Columbia, Mo. // Projected Weight Class: 157/165 Pounds
One of two three-time undefeated Missouri State Champions in this class, Jacques will stay home in Columbia after his prep career at Father Tolton Catholic High School concludes. Jacques is currently ranked No. 8 at 152 pounds and No. 62 overall by FloWrestling, and No. 53 overall in the Class of 2018 by Intermat. At the national level, Jacques finished fifth at the FloNationals and fourth at the Junior Freestyle Nationals.
“I chose Tiger Style because it’s close to my family, and I love the wrestling community in Columbia,” said Jacques.
“Jarrett is a very physical wrestler,” said Smith. “I think back to Michael Chandler and Nick Marable, guys who are stocky, but get after it and are really physical. He’s a very talented wrestler with impressive skills. Being right here from Columbia and having so many local kids on our roster is going to be fun for Tiger Style fans.”
Jacques plans to major in Communications at Mizzou.
Malik Johnson // Christian Brothers College High School // Florissant, Mo. // Projected Weight Class: 133 Pounds
A three-time Missouri State Champion, Johnson has enjoyed much success on the international level in Greco-Roman. After capturing his second state title in 2016, Johnson went on to win a Cadet Greco-Roman national title and represent the U.S. at the 2016 World Championships. Johnson repeated as national champion in 2017, claiming the 58 kg national title at the 2017 UWW Cadet Greco-Roman Nationals. The Florissant, Mo., native will seek his fourth state title in 2018. In the Intermat high school rankings, Johnson ranks No. 4 at 126 pounds and No. 43 overall.
“I’m choosing Tiger Style because I see it as an opportunity to learn from some of the best coaches in the sport,” said Johnson. “Mizzou is close to home, which was important in my recruiting process so my family can come watch me wrestle.”
“I got to watch Malik at the state tournament when he was a freshman, and every year since,” said Smith. “He has won the state tournament each year, and comes from one of the best programs in the state, CBC. He’s also had experience at the international level, competing on two world teams. Malik is the kind of student-athlete we want in our program – a kid serious about academics, but also wants to be at the world level in wrestling.”
Brock Mauller // Father Tolton Catholic High School // Columbia, Mo. // Project Weight Class: 149 Pounds
The second three-time undefeated Missouri State Champion in this class, Mauller comes to Mizzou ranked No. 8 at 145 pounds and No. 45 overall by FloWrestling. Mauller and Jacques both look to follow current Tiger Jaydin Eierman as four-time undefeated Missouri State Champions, a feat that has only happened twice in Missouri history, so far. The Columbia, Mo., native has seen success on the national level as well, claiming three All-America honors, two at the Junior Freestyle Nationals and one at Super 32.
“I chose Tiger Style because it is a great way to live your life,” said Mauller. “Not only do you use this way of thinking on the mat, you use it as a belief system off the mat.”
“I’ve known Brock for a long time with him growing up in Columbia,” said Smith “He’s another exciting wrestler from Eierman Elite and Tolton who goes out and wrestles to score a lot of points, and I like that in wrestlers. His offensive success in high school is really going to help him in college. Brock is a very exciting wrestler that Tiger Style fans are going to enjoy watching.”
Peyton Mocco // Nathan Hale High School // West Allis, Wis. // Projected Weight Class: 157/165 Pounds
A Wisconsin State Champion in 2017, Mocco will join Mizzou after training under Mizzou legend Ben Askren at the Askren Wrestling Academy during his high school career. At Nathan Hale High School, Mocco finished fifth at the 2015 Wisconsin State Tournament before claiming first in 2017. Mocco also recorded a first-place finish in the state freestyle tournament in 2016, and second in 2017, as well as a third-place finish at FloNationals this past spring.
“I chose Tiger Style because of their expectation to succeed both on and off the mat, which will help me accomplish my goals,” said Mocco.
“Peyton’s resume is off the charts,” said Smith. “He’s got a 4.6 GPA and he wants to major in engineering. But then what really impressed me on the mat was a match that he lost to one of the top recruits in the nation. It was just a battle, he was just competing the entire match and fell behind, came back, and almost found a way win the match. I was like ‘this kid’s going to be good.’ He used to compete in gymnastics when he was younger, and you can see his athleticism, his flexibility, and his ability to hit moves in all situations. Tiger Style is about using your intelligence to succeed, on and off the mat, and Peyton brings the total package.”
Mocco plans to major in engineering at Mizzou.
Cevion Severado // Christian Brothers College High School // Saint Peters, Mo. // Projected Weight Class: 125/133 Pounds
A multiple-time All-American and a 2017 world team member, Severado joins Mizzou with a long list of accomplishments in folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. His highest Missouri State Tournament finished occurred this past year, when Severado finished second at 106 pounds. In the summer of 2017, Severado went on to make the Greco Roman Junior World Team at 50 kg, and earned a silver medal at the 2017 Junior World Championships in Finland with a second-place finish. At the prestige Junior Nationals in Fargo, Severado has claimed three All-America honors, including a third-place finish in freestyle in 2016.
“Tiger Style builds champions on and off the mat,” said Severado. “I want to be a part of that.”
“Cevion has accomplished a lot on the mat,” said Smith “He’s another impressive wrestler coming out of the CBC program. Cevion made the same world team in Finland with Wyatt Koelling, so Wyatt got to tell him a little bit about Tiger Style. Cevion and his family really liked what Tiger Style is all about. For our program to be successful, we have to keep kids like Cevion home. He’s competed at every level and has been successful at every level, we look forward to what he can do as a Mizzou wrestler.”
Severado plans to major in kinesiology at Mizzou.