Nebraska signed its six-man recruiting class for the class of 2023 this week, and it’s a pretty impressive bunch.
Four of the six signees are ranked in FloWrestling’s 2023 Big Board (Top 100). Many of which are nationally ranked highly in their respective weight classes. With a roster stocked with underclassmen right now, this class has a lot of talent and was obviously focused on weights of need.
Let’s see who the Huskers signed, from the lightest to the heaviest.
2023 Husker Recruiting Class
No. 4 at 120 pounds
A two-time Minnesota state champion, Alan Koehler is currently ranked No. 4 in the country at 120 pounds after an impressive summer on the mat.
At Junior National Duals, Koehler went 6-0 in Greco-Roman. Then he finished as a double All-American at Fargo Nationals, finishing third in both freestyle and Greco. At the Journeyman Fall Classic, one of the toughest preseason tournaments in the country at the high school level, Koehler finished third in a bracket that included both No. 1 Jax Forrest and No. 2 Luke Lilledahl. Koehler’s only loss came in the semifinal round to Lilledahl via 5-2 decision.
Then most recently at Super 32, another extremely tough preseason tournament, Koehler won his first five matches before having to injury default out of the quarterfinals against No. 5 Vinny Kilkeary of Pennsylvania, an Ohio State recruit. Koehler was trailing 2-1 at the time of the injury late in the second period.
A clear-cut career 125-pounder, Koehler comes in to a weight of massive need. Behind senior Liam Cronin this year, Nebraska has a trio of freshmen, led by true freshman Jake Van Dee. With Cronin exhausting his eligibility after this year, it was imperative for Nebraska to add to its lightest weight, and it did just that with Koehler.
No. 13 at 120 pounds
Another Husker signee that wrestles at 120 pounds in high school, Kael Lauridsen has put together an impressive resume so far.
Currently ranked No. 13 at 120 pounds, Lauridsen is a three-time Nebraska state champion for Bennington. A cadet double champion at the 2021 Pan-American games in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, Lauridsen then went on to win a Fargo national title in Greco in 2022, downing future teammate Koehler 11-2 via technical superiority along the way. In freestyle, Lauridsen finished fifth to earn double All-American honors. At Junior National Duals, Lauridsen went 8-0 in Greco and 9-0 in freestyle, outscoring his opponents 156-4.
Lauridsen represented Team USA again this summer for the U17 Pan-American Championships, finishing with a gold medal in freestyle and a silver in Greco. Then most recently, Lauridsen went 3-3 at Elite 8 Duals, dropping him down the rankings as a result.
Next year, expect Van Dee, Koehler and Lauridsen to battle it out for the open spot at 125 pounds.
No. 4 at 145 pounds
Wrestling out of Pueblo East in Colorado, Weston Dalton is a two-time Colorado state champion and is currently ranked No. 4 in the country at 145 pounds.
Just in the last month and a half, Dalton has gone on a tear and climbed the national rankings. At Elite 8 Duals, Dalton went 4-2 with his losses to Top-10 guys, while he picked up a pair of ranked wins, including a 5-3 decision over Millard South’s Joel Adams. The former Husker target, Adams recently chose Michigan over the Huskers, among others.
At Super 32, Dalton went 6-1, finishing in second place with his lone loss a 6-5 decision to No. 3 Dylan Gilcher. On the way to the finals, Dalton again knocked off Adams, this time via 5-4 decision.
With little depth at 149 pounds, the Huskers really needed a top-shelf talent at that weight, and it looks like they got that with Dalton. Now, adding Adams to this class would have been ideal, but Dalton looks like the real deal.
Wrestling out of Eagle High School in Idaho, Tanner Frothinger is a two-time state champion. The 170-pounder also was a 16U national finalist at Fargo nationals in Greco-Roman.
With some serious talent at 165 and 174 already on the Husker roster, I expect Frothinger to redshirt once on campus next season.
Out of Hillsboro High School in Missouri, Griffin Ray joins Nebraska and projects at 165 or 174 pounds.
#GBR— Griffin Ray (@GriffinRay2023) November 10, 2022
I can't wait to get to Lincoln and get to work. I have so many people to prove right.
Thank you to @kokesh174 and @Coach_Manning, along with the other Husker coaches, for believing in me. I am proud to join the @HuskerWrestling family. #ToughTogether#BetOnYourself pic.twitter.com/RJ52C1WP9S
The two-time state placer in Missouri, Ray competed this past spring at the NHSCA High School Nationals at 170 pounds in the Junior division. He went 6-2 with two wins by pinfall.
He’ll likely redshirt before adding depth and possibly challenging for a starting spot.
No. 8 at 195 pounds
A late addition to the class, Camden McDanel is currently ranked No. 8 in the country at 195 pounds. Out of Teays Valley, Ohio, McDanel is a two-time Ohio state finalist and is looking for his first state title as a senior.
In 2021, McDanel was a 16U Freestyle National Champion at Fargo. Then in 2022, McDanel finished sixth at Fargo in the junior division. Recently at Super 32, McDanel finished fourth with a 5-2 record, including wins over then-No. 13 Vincenzo Lavalle and No. 20 Joey Novak. His losses came to wrestlers ranked No. 3 and No. 7 in the country, both via decision.
Behind starter Silas Allred at 197 pounds, Nebraska really only has true freshman Nathan Westrom who’s redshirting. So it’s safe to say that the Huskers got their man at a weight of need here.