Tom Brands made it clear when he returned to Iowa as the school's wrestling coach 18 months ago that the Hawkeyes would replenish the depth in their room and make an effort to do so with the state's best talents.
Iowa's latest recruiting catch should help the Hawkeyes in their quest to accomplish both objectives.
Mark Ballweg, a state champion from Waverly-Shell Rock and one of the state's top college prospects, verbally committed to the Hawkeyes. He'll join a roster that includes his older brother, Matt, a redshirt freshman at Iowa.
Ballweg selected the Hawkeyes over Northern Iowa and Tennesse-Chattanooga.
"He took three official visits, but I think all along he wanted to become a Hawkeye with his brother there and an older sister who goes to Iowa as well," Waverly-Shell Rock coach Rick Caldwell said. "It was a pretty good fit for him."
Ballweg, projected as a 133-pounder in college, is ranked the nation's 30th-best overall prospect in the Class of 2008 by InterMat. He was a state champion as a freshman in 2005. He missed eight weeks during his sophomore season with a broken arm, but came back in time for the district tournament and placed third at the state meet. He placed fourth last year at 130 pounds.
"His style of wrestling fits right in with what coach Brands and the guys are trying to teach," Caldwell said. "I think he'll be a great Hawkeye down the road."
"He's a real student of the game, loves to learn, he's ultra-competitive, just a real hard-nosed, tough kid who hates to lose. He's one of the best kids I've ever been around and I'm looking forward to seeing him in another black and gold singlet."
Ballweg is thought to be the fourth wrestler to commit to Iowa's class of 2008 and the third Iowan. The Hawkeyes picked up commitments from West High state champions Nate Moore and Grant Gambrall and also got a pledge from Illinois state champ Jordan Blanton. All four wrestlers are ranked among the top 46 recruits in the country by InterMat.