Nov. 16, 2011
Champaign, Ill. - University of Illinois head coach Jim Heffernanannounced the signing of four student-athletes, including three top-15 national recruits, to National Letters of Intent Wednesday. Zac Brunson of Eugene, Ore., John Fahy of Pewee Valley, Ky., Nikko Reyes of Fresno, Calif., and Zane Richards of Carbondale, Ill., will join the Illini program in the fall of 2012. Reyes is the No. 6 overall recruit in the class of 2012 according to The Open Mat, Richards is No. 13 overall and Brunson ranks No. 10 while Fahy is a three-time Kentucky state champion.
"We are extremely proud and excited with the four standout student-athletes we signed this fall," Heffernan said. "They fill our roster needs for the future and more importantly exemplify the type of attitude, work habits and will to win that we need to have as we continue to build our program to a championship level. Mark Perry and Jeremy Hunter did an outstanding job building relationships and sharing the vision we have for the future of our program. The addition of Cory Coopermanto our staff also made an impact on what we feel is one of the top recruiting classes in the country."
Brunson went 141-2 at Churchill High School and was a three-time state champion at 135, 145 and 160. He was also the champion of the 2011 Junior Nationals and NW Junior Regional as well as the 2010 NW Junior Regional champion and placed second at the 2009 Cadet Nationals at 140. He will wrestle at 165 next year for the Illini.
Fahy will also join the squad, as he was a four-time varsity letter winner at Trinity High School, including two team state championships in 2009 and 2010 along with three individual state championships at 103, 112 and 125 pounds. Fahy was a two-time Super 32 place winner and a two-time Beast of the East place winner and will wrestle at 141 or 149 for Illinois next season.
Reyes, from Clovis West High School, is a two-time National High School Coaches Association champion, winning two consecutive titles in 2010 (160) and 2011 (171). He also was the 2011 California high school state champion at 171 pounds and a third place finisher in the 2010 championships. Reyes was the 2010 Reno Tournament of Champions top finisher at 171 and will wrestle at 184 or 197 for the Illini next season.
Richards, from Carbondale Community High School, was a 2011 IHSA Class 2A state champion at 125 pounds. He will wrestle at 133 for the Illini. He was also the 2009 and 2010 Cadet Nationals champion at 125 and 130, respectively and the 2011 Junior Nationals champion at 130 pounds. Richards was also a member of the FILA Cadet world team where he competed in the 2011 World Championships in Hungary. The Carbondale, Ill., native's current high school career is 126-9.
"As a staff we did a good job of getting the right guys at the specific weight classes we targeted," associate head coach Mark Perrysaid. "This recruiting class was pivotal in order to compete for a national title in the near future. These recruits expect to win and win right away. They have the right mind frame and mentality that it takes to dominate at the collegiate level. We are extremely excited about this year's recruiting class."
2012-13 Incoming Wrestlers
Nikko Reyes, 174/184
Zane Richards, 133
Zac Brunson, 165/174
John Fahy, 141/149