Three wrestlers ranked among the top 100 overall in the Class of 2016, verbally committed to Illinois on Friday afternoon. No. 74 Mike Carr (South Fayette, Pa.) was the first to announce followed by No. 46 Dylan Duncan (Montini Catholic, Ill.) and No. 61 Travis Piotrowski (Prairie Ridge, Ill.).
Carr is a two-time state placer and capped a perfect season (44-0) with his first PIAA state title this past winter at 138 pounds. He projects to compete at 141/149. Pennsylvania native Brooks Black (Blair Academy) is the only wrestler from the Keystone State on the Illinois roster.
Duncan is the biggest haul of the three. The two-time state champion, who was teammates with Illini freshman Xavier Montalvo, was a Junior National freestyle All-American in July at Fargo, N.D., after capturing Cadet National freestyle gold in 2014. Duncan projects to compete at 133, and replace Zane Richards.
Piotrowski has placed third twice at the state tournament in Champaign. He is a three-time All-American in freestyle, and took third at 120-pound Junior last month. He projects to be a 125-pound wrestler.
Mark Jayne, who wrestled at Illinois, was Prairie Ridge's coach in Piotrowski's freshman year. According to the Northwest Herald, part of Piotrowski's decision came down to his friendship with Illini freshman Eric Barone, who stunned the State Farm Center last winter with a Class 2A 145-pound state championship over Minnesota freshman Larry Early.
"Eric and I used to wrestle on the same clubs together (Crystal Lake Wizards and Jr. Wolves,"" Piotrowski said. "We've been great family friends with the Barones, and we absolutely love them."