Blanton commits to Iowa
By JOE STEVENSON - email@example.com
The University of Iowa, where wrestling practically is a religion, applied a hold on Jordan Blanton like none of his 112 high school opponents ever have.
The Richmond-Burton junior visited the Iowa City campus Thursday and committed to one of the NCAA's most storied wrestling programs before leaving town. Blanton told Hawkeyes coach Tom Brands he would accept the school's scholarship offer.
The Rockets' 171-pounder, who owns a 111-1 career high school record, previously thought he would wait until fall of his senior year before announcing his college plans. Then, the recruitment process intensified, and Blanton reconsidered.
"To be honest, I never expected it [this soon]," said Blanton, who drove to Iowa with his parents, Jack and Stacey, Wednesday night. "A lot of schools started calling and talking money and commitments. I wanted to speed it up a little. There may have been too much to focus on in the season if recruiting was going on."
Blanton was 40-1 this season, his first in Class AA. His only high school loss came in the 171-pound state championship match to Montini's Mike Benefiel, who became a four-time state champion.
Blanton said Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan State and Iowa State were the other schools high on his list, but Iowa topped them all.
"It's every little detail there," Blanton said. "It's like it was meant to be [for me]. Wrestling is a big deal there; they average 6,900 [fans] for home dual meets.
"I watched one of their practices [Thursday morning] and the way they work, the Iowa style of wrestling ... it was a no-brainer."
Blanton and his parents attended lunch with Brands, then talked about the scholarship offer. After hearing what the Hawkeyes offered, Blanton told Brands he was coming.
"Being in Iowa City was a lot different feeling than I felt anywhere else," Blanton said.