Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Under Tony Robie, Virginia Tech wrestling has continued to be a program on rise from Mekhi Lewis winning a national title to international wrestling success with Lewis to a small rebuild that hasn't seen VT drop from being a top 10-12 program, something that would have been unimaginable pre-Robie and Kevin Dresser.
However, one of the most impressive things about the Robie era is the impressive recruiting for Virginia Tech. After signing a top 5 class in the 2019 cycle, the 2020 cycle may be the best one yet with the Hokies making a strong run at having the nation's best class.
That class got better recently when the Hokies landed their fourth wrestler ranked in the FloWrestling top 25 in the 2020 class in Clayton Ulrey.
#Hokies Wrestling has 4 of the top 25 overall wrestlers in the country committed in their 2020 class.— The Tech Lunch Pail (@techlunchpaild) September 29, 2019
Talk about insanely impressive recruiting from Tony Robie and his staff. Could end up with the best class in the country https://t.co/u8fGdlSOoy
Ulrey joins Sammy Hillegas, Eddie Ventresca, and Hunter Catka as the four top 25 commits, all of whom come from out of state, another impressive part of VT's recruiting class. Additionally, all four of those recruits come from New Jersey and Pennsylvania with plenty of powerhouse Big 10 and Northeastern schools closer by yet Robie, top assistant Jared Frayer, and staff have been able to overcome any geographic challenges to land elite talent.
Combine that with having another top 100 overall wrestler commit via in-state wrestler Sammie Fisher and VT has built the type of class that you expect at an elite program that competes for national titles with an impressive mix of VA and out of state talent.
Beyond having 4 top 25 guys according to FloWrestling, the more impressive thing may be how 3 of those guys, including Ulrey, have climbed into the top 25 in the most recent rankings after being in the 26-50 range. Not only is Virginia Tech landing talented wrestlers, but they're also finding wrestlers who are clearly on an upward trajectory.
In wrestling, most freshmen end up redshirting with Mekhi Lewis being one of the best examples of this. VT has had a few recent exceptions but many of those guys have intentionally redshirted the next year including Hunter Bolen who moved from 174 to 184 and is ranked in the preseason top 10 there entering his red shirt sophomore season.
With another top 5 class and potential #1 class combined with lots of young talent plus a wrestling training center that has as much talent as we've ever seen, there's lots of reason to believe that Virginia Tech will not only have more individual national champions very soon but also will consistently be making strong runs at a team national title within the next 3-4 years.