"I am very pleased with the profile of our incoming class," stated Eslinger. "Add this group to the three guys we already signed in the fall and we have the pieces in place to continue building the brand of Chattanooga Strong. They have all been successful at the prep level and we expect that to carry over into their collegiate careers."
Highlighting the class are Clay Dent (184 - Piedmont, Ala.) and Jared Johnson (197 - Jefferson City, Mo.). Both were also highly recruited football players who also earned all-state recognition on the gridiron. Dent was a three-time state champion wrestler at Piedmont High School in Piedmont, Ala. He set an Alabama State record for wins with a 76-0 mark at 182 as a senior. He was also an all-state linebacker on the Bulldogs' 3A football state championship squad and a state qualifier in track & field.
Johnson posted a 50-0 record as a senior on his way to winning the 195 title for Jefferson City High School in Jefferson City, Mo. He pinned his opponent in every contested match last season and owned a 100-1 record over the last two years. He was also an all-state linebacker in football as a senior.
There are five newcomers in the group from Tennessee, including Campbell Lewis (133 - Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), John Shrader (184 - Franklin, Tenn.), Parker Smith (149 - Franklin, Tenn.), Alex Ward (133 - Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Austin Woods (141 - Franklin, Tenn.). Shrader and Woods were teammates and state champions at Franklin High School in Franklin, Tenn. Shrader went 20-1 as a senior while Woods had a 51-1 mark last season and was an NHSCA All-American in his career.
Lewis became one of just nine in Tennessee history to win four state titles when he took home the 132-pound trophy for Soddy Daisy High School last season. A former NHSCA National Champion, Lewis was 81-6 over the last two years. Ward is a two-time state title winner from Chattanooga's McCallie School. He posted a 45-3 mark at 138 as a senior and was an NHSCA All-American in 2012.
Sean Mappes (165 - Greenwood, Ind.) rounds out the group. He was an undefeated state champion for Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Ind., last season, finishing with a 46-0 record. He placed fifth at the Senior Nationals in 2012 to earn NHSCA All-American honors and was also an all-county player on the Trojan's football team.
All totaled, these eight newcomers won 14 state championships and posted a combined 367-10 individual record last season. They were equally as impressive in the classroom with seven of the eight listing academic honors on their resumes. This group also includes three who are members of the National Honor Society.
"These are the types of student-athletes we want in our program," added Eslinger. "They are winners on the mat, successful in the classroom and represent themselves well in the community. We have been in the top-15 in the nation in team grade-point-average in each of the last two seasons and we expect these guys to help us continue and improve upon that accomplishment, in addition to continuing our championship tradition."
The Mocs already signed Zach Brisdon (125 - Sandown, N.H.), Caleb Denny (285 - Cincinnati, Ohio) and Landon Reed (141 - Ringgold, Ga.) in the fall. Brisdon placed fourth at the 2012 NHSCA Senior Nationals while Reed repeated as the Georgia State 3A Champion.
Clay Dent - 184 - Piedmont, Ala. - Piedmont HS
Three-time state champion at Piedmont High School in Piedmont, Ala. ... wrestled for head coach Jack Harley ... set a state record for wins with a 76-0 mark as a senior ... won the 182-pound state championship as a senior ... won at 171 pounds as a junior and sophomore ... all-state linebacker on the 3A state championship football team ... state qualifier in track & field ... member of the National Honor Society and Vice President of the Student Government Association ... PERSONAL ... full name is Ira Clay Dent, Jr. ... born July 19, 1994 ... son of Ira and Samantha Dent ... has an older brother, Jeremy, and an older sister, Alivia ... father played football at Jacksonville State and brother played football at Troy ... also recruited by Ohio State and Old Dominion.
Jared Johnson - 197 - Jefferson City, Mo. - Jefferson City HS
State champion at 195 pounds as a senior with a 50-0 record at Jefferson City Senior High School in Jefferson City, Mo. ... led the team in pins with 44 ... pinned his opponent in every contested match as a senior ... went 50-1 as a junior, finishing second at the state championships for the second year in a row ... set new team records for career wins (182) and pins (126) ... wrestled for head coach Phil Cagle ... all-state linebacker and team captain on the football team as a senior ... member of the National Honor Society ... PERSONAL ... full name is Jared Roy Johnson ... son of Steve and Tina Johnson ... has an older brother, Steve, and two older sisters, Christy and Marcy ... father played football and wrestled at Southeast Missouri State (1967-71) ... also recruited by Missouri and Oklahoma.
Campbell Lewis - 133 - Soddy Daisy, Tenn. (Soddy Daisy HS)
One of nine in Tennessee history to win four state titles ... earned the Outstanding Wrestler Award at the 2012 TSSAA championships ... 144-15 in his career, including 81-6 last two seasons ... wrestled for head coach Steve Henry ... NHSCA National Champion as a freshman and All-American as a sophomore ... ranked in the top-30 in the nation throughout high school ... voted Mr. Soddy Daisy High School by the teachers and students as a senior ... member of the BETA Club ... PERSONAL ... full name is Campbell Tanner Lewis ... born Feb. 10, 1993 ... son of Gary and Stephanie Lewis ... has an older brother, Colby, and younger sisters, Caroline and Chloe ... plans to major in Business.
Sean Mappes - 165 - Greenwood, Ind. - Center Grove HS
State champion at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Ind. ... went 46-0 as a senior ... wrestled for head coach Cale Hoover ... sectional champion with a 36-6 record as a junior ... all-county performer for the football team ... academic all-conference ... PERSONAL ... full name is Sean Douglas Mappes ... born July 5, 1993 ... son of Donald and Therese Mappes ... has an older brother, Shelby, and two younger brothers, Rhett and Gleason ... father wrestled for Ball State (1976-81) while Shelby currently wrestles for the University of Indianapolis ... also recruited by Purdue and Indiana.
John Shrader - 184 - Franklin, Tenn. - Franklin HS
State champion at Franklin High School in Franklin, Tenn. wrestled for head coach Charles Gillespie ... went 20-1 as a senior ... 43-5 and state runner-up as a junior ... 81-10 career prep record ... honors graduate ... PERSONAL ... full name is John Terry Shrader ... son of Terry and Debbie Shrader ... born April 14, 1994 ... has an older sister, Katie, and older brother, James, and a younger brother, Jack ... plans to major in Criminal Justice ... also recruited by Duke.
Parker Smith - 149 - Franklin, Tenn. - Centennial HS
State champion from Centennial High School in Franklin, Tenn. ... went 40-2 as a senior ... wrestled for head coach Mathew Becker ... two-time region champion, finishing third in the state tournament as a junior ... went 79-7 in his last two seasons ... also compete in track & field and football ... honor roll student ... PERSONAL ... full name is Patrick Jay Smith ... born June 8, 1993 ... son of Lisa and Randy Smith ... has a twin brother, Palmer, and a younger brother, Jackson ... plans to major in Business.
Alex Ward - 133 - Chattanooga, Tenn. - McCallie School
Two-time state champion at Chattanooga's McCallie School ... went 45-3 as a senior at 138 pounds ... posted a 43-5 record as a junior and was runner-up at 125 pounds ... won the state titles at 112 pounds as a sophomore ... state qualifier as a cross country runner during his junior year ... member of the National Honor Society ... PERSONAL ... full name is Alexander Steven Ward ... born May 11, 1994 ... son of Steve and Deseret Ward ... has two brothers, Tyler and Jared, and three sisters, Lauren, Katherine and Anna ... father was a swimmer at BYU (1996) ... Eagle Scout ... also recruited by Boise State and Utah Valley.
Austin Woods - 141 - Franklin, Tenn. - Franklin HS
State champion from Franklin High School in Franklin, Tenn. ... wrestled for head coach Charles Gillespie ... posted a 51-1 record as a senior ... 170-10 record during his four-year career ... NHSCA All-American ... finished third in the state as a junior and sophomore ... PERSONAL ... full name is Austin Ryan Woods ... born March 1, 1994 ... son of Chris and Julie Woods.