Nebraska’s wrestling program today announced its 2024 recruiting class.
With four new signees, the class is one of the smaller in the country. That’s understandable after Nebraska inked 12 high schoolers a year ago. They also welcomed former Millard South star Scott Robertson (a 2021 signee) now that he’s completed his LDS mission.
Nebraska has 31 wrestlers on roster with 13 of them true freshmen and another six redshirt freshmen — that’s over 61% of the roster with four years of eligibility remaining. With just one senior on the team in Peyton Robb, this class was bound to be smaller.
Still, this class boasts a lot of talent as the Huskers went for quality over quantity. The class is ranked No. 20 in the country by Flowrestling despite its small size.
In addition to the four new signees, Nebraska has announced that two of its top 2023 signees are delaying their eligibility until next season. That means that Nebraska signed 15 wrestlers in the ‘23 class.
Nebraska’s 2024 Recruiting Class
No. 34 Omar Ayoub (projected weight 141/149)
No. 93 Marco Christiansen (184/197)
LJ Araujo (165/174)
Colin McCalister (157)
#34 Camden McDanel (197/285)
#43 Kael Lauridsen (133/141)
First, let’s touch on the two wrestlers who are delaying their eligibility until the 2024-25 season in Camden McDanel and Kael Lauridsen.
A blue-chip prospect out of Ohio, McDanel was a state champion, a national champion and took a bronze medal at the U20 World Championships at 97 kg. The No. 34-ranked recruit in the 2023 class, he projects best at 197 pounds but could move up to heavyweight — he does compete internationally at 97 kg (just under 214 pounds).
The No. 43-ranked recruit in the 2023 class, Lauridsen is taking a grayshirt this year. The former Bennington star was a four-time Nebraska state champion in Class B. He projects at 133 or 141 in college after spending his high school years at 126 and smaller.
It seems that McDanel may be taking his Olympic redshirt after qualifying for it with his world bronze medal. Both will spend this gap year training on their own and at the Olympic Training Center.
As for the new signees, Nebraska’s top-ranked guy on the 2024 Big Board is No. 34 Omar Ayoub. The younger brother of Nebraska’s redshirt freshman Ismael Ayoub, Omar has been on the national radar for some time (He’s ranked No. 15 in the country at 138 pounds). A two-time Ohio state champion and three-time finalist, Omar Ayoub has solid finishes at many national tournament — 4th at 2022 Ironman, 2022 Fargo Junior Nationals runner-up, 5th at 2023 Fargo Junior Nationals, 7th at the 2022 U17 World Team Trials.
Projecting at 141 or 149 in college, Ayoub could redshirt next season before competing to take over at 149 after Ridge Lovett graduates in 2025.
Despite not being on FloWrestling’s 2024 Big Board, LJ Araujo may be the biggest get in this class. He is ranked No. 81 in MatScout’s 2024 Big Board. Before running through a loaded bracket at Super 32 last month, Araujo was unranked nationally at 160 pounds. After beating three straight highly-ranked guys on the way to winning the title at 165 pounds, Araujo shot up to a No. 4 national ranking.
On top of his impressive Super 32 win, the North Dakota native is also a four-time state champion (yes, he won a high school state title in eighth grade and is going for his fifth). Just this calendar year, Araujo also has a runner-up finish at the NHSCA High School Junior National Championships, a championship at the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals, and a runner-up finish at 16U Junior Nationals.
Araujo will likely wrestle at 165 in college, but he’s got the long frame to fill out into a 174-pounder.
Ranked No. 93 on the ‘24 Big Board, Marco Christiansen is a solid addition out of Minnesota. The No. 14-ranked 182-pounder in the country, Christiansen is a Minnesota state champ and 2023 Fargo All-American.
Christiansen was a big signee for a Husker team that needs depth at its upper-weights.
A projected 157-pounder in college, Colin McCalister was a Kansas 6A state champion at 150 pounds in 2023. Out of Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kan., McCalister was also a 2022 Southern Plains Freestyle champion.
Nebraska currently has a logjam of wrestlers at 165 and 174, but the Huskers could use some depth at 157 with Peyton Robb graduating after this season.