Cowboy Wrestling signs seven in the class of 2023


STILL WATER – On Wednesday, Oklahoma State’s wrestling program signed seven wrestlers in the 2023 class during the first signing period. The class includes national pound-for-pound No. 1 wrestler Christian Carroll and top 182-pounder Brayden Thompson.

In addition to Carroll and Thompson, the class is made up of five local recruits, including Cael Hughes, Sam Smith and AJ Heeg from Stillwater, and Jersey Robb and Jayce Caviness from Bixby.

Carroll was a late catch for Oklahoma State, after flipping his Penn commitment to OSU on Monday. A projected heavyweight for the Cowboys, he is a two-time Super 32 champion, 2021 National Junior Freestyle Champion and was recently a member of the United States U20 Greco-Roman World Team which competed in Bulgaria this summer. A native of Elkhart, Indiana, Carroll is the highest ranked senior in the senior class.

Hailing from Lockport, Illinois, Thompson is ranked the No. 3 pound-for-pound wrestler in the class by FloWrestling and is the top rookie at 182 pounds. He committed to OSU in March shortly after capping a 45-0 junior season with an Illinois State title. This summer, Thompson won the World Junior Team Trials to earn the World U20 Team berth at 79kg.

Hughes is ranked No. 22 on FloWrestling’s Big Board Class of 2023 and No. 3 at 132 pounds. 2019 Fargo champion in freestyle and runner-up in Greco-Roman at the cadet level, Hughes is expected to be a lighter weight when he arrives at Oklahoma State. He enters his senior season at Stillwater, holding a 98-0 record as a trailblazer and seeking to become the school’s first four-time state champion since Chris Perry.

Now Hughes’ teammate at Stillwater, Heeg committed to Oklahoma State in October after visiting Stillwater shortly after his disengagement from OU. He was a two-time sophomore and junior state champion at Edmond Memorial High School before transferring to Stillwater before this school year. Ranked seventh at 182 pounds by FloWrestling, Heeg is No. 32 overall on his Big Board and was a national junior runner-up in Fargo this summer.

Rounding out the trio of trailblazers who will move from Stillwater High to Oklahoma State is Sam Smith, son of head coach John Smith. He won a 6A State Championship from Oklahoma at 106 pounds as a sophomore and placed second at 120 pounds in 2022.

The oldest Class of 2023 pledge for Oklahoma State is Jersey Robb of Bixby who gave his verbal pledge in November 2021 and signed his NLI on Wednesday. Robb, a two-time state champion at 195 pounds, is expected to be a 197-pound heavyweight for the Cowboys. He is No. 53 on Willie Saylor’s 2023 Big Board and is listed as the No. 13 195-pounder by FloWrestling. Robb is also a star on the Bixby football team, which is ranked second in Oklahoma State.

Rounding out the class is Jayce Caviness who will wrestle his senior season at Bixby as Robb’s teammate. He was 4A state champion for Stilwell High School last year at 126 pounds. He also placed second as a freshman at 106 pounds in 2020 and as a sophomore at 120 pounds in 2021.

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