Nick Nevills, the consensus #1 HWT in the nation, today chose national titles at Penn State over a lifetime of regrets in Columbus. Nevills, a 2x CA state champ from Clovis HS near Fresno, went 53-0 last year with 44 pins, and has a career 150-5 record. High school wrestling guru Willie Saylor ranks Nevills as the #4 recruit in 2014, and the #5 overall high school wrestler in the nation.
There is a catch: PSU's other 2014 commit, PA 3x state champ Thomas Haines from Solanco HS, also projects as a college 285. Saylor ranks Haines as the #2 wrestler at 220 lb, the #6 senior, and #7 overall. Haines is the heaviest FR state champ in PA history -- by 60 lb -- and is favored to become only the 12th 4x PA champ ever this March.
To compare them:
- Nevills is a lighter HWT who can make 220; Haines is a solid 220 who currently plans to weigh 265 in college.
- Nevills comes from a big-time HS wrestling factory with an all-star coaching staff, and is more polished. Haines comes from a good program but has had to travel to find workout partners at his level. He occasionally relies on his strength and freakish athleticism.
- Nevills wrestles a workmanlike, traditional 285 style, though more active and agile than the usual dancing bear or bulldozer.
- Did I mention Haines being an athletic freak? He wrestles like a middleweight (check out the sick duck at 0:50 against PA state champ Ray O'Donnell); hits a wide range of big, splashy, unorthodox, devastating moves; and has a nasty mean streak.
How will this shake out? Stay tuned ...