Wrestling v. Rutgers, Cael Sanderson

Head coach Cael Sanderson questions a call by a referee during Shakur Rasheed’s match against Jordan Pagano during Penn State wrestling’s white-out meet against Rutgers in Rec Hall on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. Penn State won 38-6.

While Penn State may have exceeded expectations in what was considered by some to be a rebuilding year, its already extremely young and talented wrestling room is about to get even more crowded come next season.

After finishing second in the nation at the NCAA Wrestling Championships and crowning four individual national champions, the Nittany Lions will aim to reclaim the top spot in the sport once again in the winter.

A program that is already considered to have an above average amount of depth should get even deeper as it looks to get help from its recruits in the 2021 class.

Here’s a look at Penn State’s three 2021 recruits heading into next season.

Alex Facundo

While Alex Facundo is one of just three accomplished incoming recruits, one could make the case he possesses the most talent.

Facundo, a three-time individual state champion, is considered the No. 1 high school wrestler at 170 pounds.

The Michigan native also earned consecutive bronze medals in 2018 and 2019 at the Cadet World Championships and was a Super 32 Challenge champion in 2018.

National champion Carter Starocci represents the Nittany Lions at 174 pounds, but redshirt freshman Joe Lee — who currently wrestles at 165 pounds — struggled at times.

Facundo could have an opportunity to compete for the 165-pound spot in the blue and white’s starting rotation next season.


Gary Steen

Gary Steen is also considered to be one of the top recruits in the nation’s 2021 class, with some believing he has the opportunity to compete at 125 pounds for the majority, if not all, of his collegiate career.

The Reynolds, Pennsylvania, native wasn’t always planning on suiting up for the blue and white, however.

It wasn’t until January that Steen, who had previously committed to Pitt, announced via Twitter he would be taking his talents to Happy Valley.

Steen is a four-time Pennsylvania state medalist and a two-time Pennsylvania state champion.

True freshman Robbie Howard currently holds the 125-pound spot in the Nittany Lions’ starting lineup. However, there is a possibility that he may eventually make the jump to 133 pounds as he matures.

Shayne Van Ness

Shayne Van Ness is Cael Sanderson’s third top-ranked recruit in the class of 2021 and is considered to be a premier high school talent at 132 pounds.

Van Ness spent his high school career at Blair Academy in New Jersey, where he was a two-time National Prep Champion.

In addition to his success at the prep level, he also took home the top spot at the 2019 Who’s #1 tournament.

Van Ness is thought to be the No. 2 overall high school wrestler. The Garden State native is projected by FloWrestling to compete at 149 pounds during his collegiate career.

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