The Rutgers wrestling team got a little heavier as redshirt freshman heavyweight Boone McDermott has committed to the Scarlet Knights.
McDermott brings his talents to the East Coast after a successful season at junior college Iowa Central, where he helped bring the Tritons to victory in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) tournament.
The heavyweight made the announcement on his Twitter account last Wednesday. Included in McDermott’s tweet is a photoshopped image of himself celebrating in a Rutgers singlet.
Several schools contacted McDermott, including Purdue, according to an article from the Des Moines Register. His other options were Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois, Oregon State and Fresno State. Due to COVID-19, McDermott wasn’t able to meet with every school that contacted him, but his visit to the Banks in late February proved successful.
“It’s a wrestling environment, and I love that,” McDermott said, according to the article.
McDermott will be able to add to that environment for his three years of eligibility starting immediately. His commitment comes after a season in which he compiled a 36-1 record with 21 pins. Four of those pins came in succession to start the NJCAA tournament, en route to a 4-0 victory in the finals.
As a junior in high school, McDermott found success at 182 pounds but moved up to 220 pounds for his senior season. He then defeated the reigning state champion in the finals. On his way to the top, he twice defeated Francis Duggan, who went 9-11 as a redshirt freshman at Iowa State this past season.
McDermott’s arrival adds to the depth the Knights have at the heavier weights. Once practice starts on the Banks, McDermott, along with other recruits, will have to compete with the big men already on the roster such as sophomore heavyweight Alex Esposito.
Last season, Esposito led Rutgers with eight pins, while picking up 18 victories to go along with 14 losses. One of his pins came in the victory against Northwestern at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
In the mix for opportunities at heavyweight will be redshirt freshman 197-pounder Kyle Lightner. Last season, Lightner took to the competition in two weight classes, 197 pounds and heavyweight, going a combined 5-4.
The battle for the heavyweight and 197-pound spots may be just what the Knights need to solidify themselves atop the Big Ten. Rutgers is anchored down low by the skills of redshirt freshman 125-pounder Nicolas Aguilar and true freshman 133-pounder Sammy Alvarez, both NCAA Championships qualifiers.
Throughout the rest of the roster, there are numerous weight classes with young wrestlers either starting or getting opportunities. The youth provides stability for the future as veterans like graduate student 197-pounder Jordan Pagano and fifth-year seniors 184-pounder Willie Scott and heavyweight Christian Colucci prepare to leave the Banks.
McDermott is a junior college national champion, though he is aiming for something even bigger, according to Iowa Central’s website.
"Now that I've achieved this goal, it's right on to the next one, and that's a Division I national title," he said.