Just a day after starting their 2025 recruiting class with a bang, the Huskers got a commitment from South Dakota’s LJ Araujo for the class of 2024.
Araujo is just about to start his senior season at Bismarck High School where he’ll set his sights on his fifth state title. He won a state championship in 8th grade at 106 pounds and just won his fourth this past season at 160.
Bismarck High’s LJ Araujo is going to be a Husker!— Jeff Roberts (@JeffRoberts__) October 19, 2023
LJ’s mother, Amber, shared his commitment to Nebraska on Facebook earlier this evening.@MATPACWrestling | @BHSDemonWrestle | @HuskerWrestling | #NDPreps
(Image: MATPAC Wrestling ND/Facebook) pic.twitter.com/CIu4KJcWNZ
He’s currently ranked No. 81 on the MatScouts Big Board for the class of 2024, but he’ll soon be moving up that list after what he did at Super 32 in Greensboro, N.C. Sitting as the 9-seed in an incredibly deep field at 165 pounds, Araujo showed off his incredible top game on the way to the championship. He finished the tournament with a 7-0 record with three wins via pinfall, one tech fall and one major decision.
Most impressive of all was who Araujo beat along the way. In the quarterfinal round, Araujo took on the No. 3-ranked wrestler in the country at 160 pounds (Araujo was not ranked in FloWrestling’s rankings before Super 32) in Ethan Birden. A senior from Ohio, Birden was the 1-seed and is committed to Ohio State. Araujo used his dominant top game to beat the future Buckeye 2-1.
In the semis, Araujo took out 4-seed Latrell Schafer of Georgia in dominant fashion, downing the NC State commit 11-0 via major decision. Schafer is currently ranked No. 11 at 160 pounds. In the finals, Araujo beat 6-seed Dominic Bambinelli, who is also from Georgia, via 5-3 decision. Bambinelli is currently ranked No. 9 in the country at 170 pounds.
In fact, Araujo was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the tournament in the high school division’s upper weights.
Congratulations to our Most Outstanding Wrestlers! pic.twitter.com/1W7QFhbsnj— Super 32 Challenge (@TheSuper32) October 23, 2023
The accolades don’t stop there for Araujo who is also a Fargo finalist in Greco-Roman and a former champ at Folkstyle Nationals.
Araujo looks to have the frame to grow out of the 165-pound weight class and could be a great pickup for Nebraska at a weight of need. Needing a future at 174 pounds, Nebraska may have just plugged a very important hole in future lineups.
All I know is that after watching Araujo this past weekend at Super 32, he’s the definition of an absolute hammer. He’ll find his way into Nebraska’s lineup sooner rather than later.
How Nebraska’s Other Commits Did
Araujo joins both Omar Ayoub (Ohio) and Marco Christiansen (Minnesota) in Nebraska’s 2024 class. Ayoub is ranked No. 6 in the country at 138 pounds and is the younger brother of Husker redshirt freshman Ismael Ayoub. The younger Ayoub is currently ranked No. 34 overall on the 2024 Big Board. Christiansen is ranked No. 10 in the country at 182 pounds and comes in at No. 93 on the Big Board.
At Super 32, Ayoub was the 4-seed at 138 pounds. He won his first four matches before falling in the round of 16 via 4-1 decision. Ayoub then got another win before taking another loss in the consolation bracket. He finished the weekend with a 5-2 record but didn’t place.
Christiansen was the 7-seed at 190 pounds. He won his first two matches before dropping two straight. With his 2-2 record, he failed to place.
What About the Huskers’ Known Targets?
Nebraska’s two biggest targets (that I know of) are Cade Ziola of Omaha Skutt and Seth Mendoza of Illinois. Both are juniors and will be in the class of 2025.
Ranked No. 12 in the country at 182 pounds, Ziola had an impressive tournament, going 5-2 to finish in 7th place. He’s ranked No. 52 on the class of 2025 Big Board.
Congrats to Cade Ziola on becoming a Super 32 All-American with a 7th place finish!! He joins elite company from NE. By our count just the 8th individual to All-American!— NEwrestle (@NEBwrestle) October 22, 2023
Another big-time Husker target, Mendoza is currently ranked No. 5 in the country at 120 pounds and is No. 14 on the class of 2025 Big Board.
At 126 pounds, Mendoza won his first six matches at Super 32 before dropping back-to-back matches in the semifinal and consolation semifinal. Mendoza then came back to win in the 5th-place match, finishing the weekend with a 7-2 record and All-American honors.